Election Diary: NI’s MPs cost £15.6m since last elected

Northern Ireland's MPs cost �15.6 million over five years, according to the website RateyourMP.com
Northern Ireland's MPs cost �15.6 million over five years, according to the website RateyourMP.com

Northern Ireland’s 18 MPs cost more than £15.6 million during the five-year term of the last Parliament.

News Letter analysis of figures from the independent website RateyourMP.com show that the salaries, allowances, expenses and office costs came to £15.6 million.

The bulk of that money covers expenses of various kinds, so does not go directly to the MP.

However, across the UK there has been controversy about some MPs employing family members or renting offices at public expense from friends or political associates.

In fact, the total is probably more than £16 million as the figures do not include Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness who resigned their seats during the last Parliament.

Of the MPs who take their seats (Sinn Fein do not, so receive no salaries), the DUP’s Gregory Campbell has claimed the least money. Party colleague Ian Paisley was the most expensive, costing £1,112,667.

Working out the cost of each MP according to the number of votes they attended at the Commons – one way of gauging value for money – shows that SDLP MP Mark Durkan was the best value (£1,149 per vote), followed by Alliance’s Naomi Long (£1,460) and the DUP’s Jim Shannon (£1,539).

The total cost of each MP

Gregory Campbell: £832,883

Nigel Dodds: £887,415

Pat Doherty: £810,068

Jeffrey Donaldson: £1,015,983

Mark Durkan: £884,965

Michelle Gildernew: £735,514

Sylvia Hermon: £881,659

Naomi Long: £879,516

William McCrea: £1,053,729

Alasdair McDonnell: £957,901

Francie Molloy: £239,903

Paul Maskey: £574,913

Conor Murphy: £799,507

Ian Paisley: £1,112,667

Margaret Ritchie: £986,040

Jim Shannon: £1,110,229

David Simpson: £926,769

Sammy Wilson: £912,794

Independent disapproves of Paisley’s fitness regime

A controversial independent candidate in West Tyrone has launched a blistering attack on Ian Paisley Jr’s wife – for weight-lifting.

Susan Anne White, who last year stood for council on a ticket of recriminalising homosexuality and opposing rock music, is now standing for Westminster.

In an article on her website last month, Mrs White attacked Fiona Paisley, wife of the North Antrim MP.

She said that some of the content of Mrs Paisley’s Twitter account was “shocking”, saying that she is “living the life that feminism says she ought to live”.

She went on: “Mrs Paisley has photos of herself lifting heavy weights as if it was wise and safe for women to attempt such feats.

“However, as women are 40-50 per cent weaker than men (generally speaking) women should not be lifting weights at all and Fiona Paisley is at risk of serious injury if she continues to place such unnatural and unnecessary strain on her body.

“Other women may be inclined to follow her example and serious injury could result.”

Mrs White also said that it had been a “deeply disturbing and shocking revelation” that Mrs Paisley had visited the lingerie shop Victoria’s Secrets.

Last year Mrs White told the Belfast Telegraph: “I don’t consider myself extreme at all”, before going on to say: “Some Muslims have said that they plan to conquer the world through halal meat, so if you’re asking me is Islam a threat in Co Tyrone, then yes, it is.”

Mrs White’s manifesto last year only received the support of 67 voters.

Upcoming Hustings

• East Belfast: Willowfield Parish Church, April 13, 7.30pm (Organiser: Evangelical Alliance/CARE)

• Is there a future for the Arts in Northern Ireland? Alliance, DUP, UUP, SDLP and Sinn Fein candidates on panel at The MAC, Belfast, April 14, 6pm. Free tickets at themaclive.com.

• Question Time leaders’ debate at Magee campus, Ulster University, April 21, 7.30pm. (U4D/Magee Students’ Union)

• North Down: First Holywood Presbyterian Church, April 23, 7.30pm. (Evangelical Alliance/CARE)

• North Antrim: High Kirk Presbyterian Church, April 28, 7.30pm (Evangelical Alliance/CARE)

If you are organising a public hustings event send details to sam.mcbride@newsletter.co.uk or phone 02890 897722.