Divisions within the DUP about the approach to MLA expenses claims – Ní Chuilín
Commenting after the DUP removed from the Assembly Commission Stephen Moutray the MLA who had negotiated and agreed with all the other parties a new transparent expenses regime in Stormont which would have seen cuts in the claims of individual MLAs before the rest of the DUP party blocked the new system, Sinn Féin Assembly member Carál Ní Chuilín said;
“In the wake of the DUP Assembly members failure to back a new expenses regime which would have seen a reduction in expenses for individual MLAs and greater transparency in the system, they have now removed their representative on the Assembly Commission Stephen Moutray, who had for the past six months been working on the new arrangements and replaced him with Peter Weir.
“It is clear that there are divisions within the DUP about the approach to MLA expenses claims. For months Mr Moutray worked with other parties and came to agreement on the new transparent system. His Assembly colleagues obviously felt unable to live with such an open system and Mr Moutray has now paid the price with his removal from the Assembly Commission.
“In these times of proposed financial cutbacks politicians need to be seen to take a lead. Unfortunately the DUP do not seem to have accepted this. They seem to think that things should simply proceed as before. This has been their approach to local government reform and the Educational Skills Authority.
“But given the controversy, particularly around individual DUP members claims, the rental of certain properties and the employment of relatives people would rightly have believed that on the issue of MLAs expenses that even the most out of touch DUP member would realise that continuing as before is not an option.” ENDS