Current Affairs

Iris Robinson claimed £1,644 for a bed

Jessica Geen February 4, 2010
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Shamed former MP Iris Robinson claimed £1,644.90 for a bed, a report of MPs’ expenses revealed today.

The final report into last year’s financial scandal found that she had claimed the money in January 2006, which exceeded the guideline price of £1,100.

Mrs Robinson, an evangelical Christian, quit politics last month after it was revealed she had an affair with a 19-year-old. Three more affairs were alleged.

Sir Thomas Legg’s report, released at 10am this morning, also found she and her husband Peter Robinson, who is Ireland’s first minister, both claimed for the same £1,429.99 “service charge” bill in May 2009. Mrs Robinson subsequently repaid £2,274.

Sir Thomas’ report, which reviewed five years of claims, recommended that more than half of the 646 MPs must pay back a total of £1.3 million.

The former Strangford MP, who was reviled for a series of homophobic remarks in 2008, had reportedly kitted out her constituency home like a palace.

One journalist who interviewed her described her opulent Tuscan bathroom and four-poster Gothic bed with heart-shaped cushions.

Each room in her home was decorated in a different theme – the dining room was Oriental, a sitting room was old English, one bedroom was Scottish, another French – all decorated by Mrs Robinson herself.

The Democratic Unionist Party MPs have come under scrutiny for their financial affairs before, and were estimated to be earning almost £600,000 a year in salaries and expenses.

Mrs Robinson earned £63,291 for her position as an MP, £24,296 as an Assembly member and as chairwoman of its health and social services committee and £9,550 as a councillor for the Castlereagh borough in Northern Ireland.

Mr Robinson takes home £63,291 as MP for East Belfast, £71,434 for his role as First Minister plus a third of the £43,101 salary for being an Assembly member because he is also an MP.

They also claimed more than £150,000 a year for the salaries of their staff with Mr Robinson employing their daughter Rebekah as office manager and private secretary and son Gareth as parliamentary assistant.
Mrs Robinson employed their other son Jonathan as office manager and daughter-in-law Ellen Robinson as part-time secretary.

She stepped down last month after her affair with 19-year-old Kirk McCambley was revealed. Mrs Robinson was 59 at the time of the affair.

She was also alleged to have acted improperly in securing funds for him to start a business.

Mr Robinson returned to his role as Northern Ireland’s first minister today, having stepped aside for six weeks to clear his name over claims he knew about transactions.

More: affair, Castlereagh, Christian, daughter rebekah, democratic unionist party, East Belfast, Ellen Robinson, financial scandal, Gareth, guideline price, home, Ireland, Jonathan, Kirk McCambley, minister, MP Iris Robinson, MP. They, MPs, Mr Robinson, Mrs Robinson, Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, Rebekah, report, Sir Thomas Legg, social services committee

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