DUP Assembly Member for Strangford Simon Hamilton has said that Jim Allister has serious questions to answer concerning his expenses claimed as a Member of the European Parliament. Mr. Hamilton has called for a full disclosure from the maverick MEP as to the level of expenses claimed from the European Parliament. Commenting, Simon Hamilton said,
“Mr. Allister has chosen over the course of the last fourteen months or so to set himself up as the guardian of transparency in government and the champion of openness. His frequent recourse to Freedom of Information requests is well-documented. Yet strangely, Mr. Allister enjoys a privileged position. As an MEP he is not subjected to the same Freedom of Information legislation that he has deployed against others. He does not have to provide the same details as every other holder of public office in Northern Ireland.
I am sure as such a champion of openness and transparency Mr. Allister would be keen to offer a full disclosure of his expenses. Only on Saturday did Mr. Allister admit that his family owns his constituency office, now lets see if he will answer some further questions about where his expenses are going.
1. How much did Mr. Allister claim for travel expenses from the European Parliament since his election?
2. How much is each individual employee/service provider in his office paid from European funds?
3. Does Mr. Allister pay European funds to any family members? If so, what for?
4. Who administers his website? How much are they being paid for that?
5. How many trips has Mr. Allister taken since election to the European Parliament?
6. What was the total cost Mr. Allister claimed back from the European Parliament for travel expenses?
7. Have European Funds ever been used to pay office rent to the owner/owners of his office at any time?
These are questions that every Assembly Member, Member of Parliament and Councillor in Northern Ireland has to answer. Let’s see if Mr. Allister applies the same standards of openness and transparency to himself as he does to others. Recently he tried to palm off questions regarding these issues by claiming he provides answers on his website. Full answers to the above list of questions are not provided on Jim Allister’s website. The public have a right to know what Mr. Allister is doing with public funds. Let’s see a full disclosure in answer to all of these questions in the interests of fairness and transparency, which of course Mr. Allister believes in strongly.”