The scandal of how absent Sinn Fein MPs have milked the Parliamentary second-home expenses system for nearly £500,000 can be revealed.
The five MPs, who represent the political wing of the IRA, have not even taken up their Parliamentary seats and yet they have rented three London properties from the same family at rates well above the market norm.
The party’s two best-known figures, Gerry Adams, the party leader, and Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, jointly claimed expenses of £3,600 a month to rent a shared two-bedroom flat in north London. A local estate agent, who knows the properties, said a fair monthly rent for the flat would be £1,400.
The three other Sinn Fein MPs together claimed £5,400 a month to rent a shared, modern town house, which the estate agent said would rent on the open market for around £1,800 a month. At other times some of the MPs have stayed in a third property, another two-bedroom flat.
The Telegraph has made a series of explosive revelations about MPs’ expenses that have rocked Westminster, including more disclosures today about senior Labour and Conservative politicians. More details will be published over the coming days.
The five Sinn Fein MPs have claimed more than £310,000 in five years from the public purse by submitting receipts from one man, an Irish landlord living in London, and his family.
Immediate neighbours of the three north London properties, which are all part of the same development, could not recall seeing any of the five MPs when shown photographs of them.