1 in 5 MPs still employ family members – including both our MPs

Swire employs his wife as his researcher on about £35,000 a year, Parish employs his wife at a lower salary as a junior secretary on about £15,000 (but we don’t know how many hours that is for):

“One in five MPs are still using taxpayer-funded expenses to employ members of their family – despite the practice being banned for new Members of Parliament.

Official data shows that, of the 589 MPs who returned to Parliament after the June election, 122 have declared the employment of a relative in the latest Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Yet under new rules, none of the 61 new MPs elected for the first time on 8 June are allowed to do so.

Alexandra Runswick, the director of campaign group Unlock Democracy, said: “The ban on new MPs employing family members reflects the public’s concerns about nepotism and the potential abuse of public money.

“If MPs employing family members is wrong in principle, then when the MP was first elected is irrelevant.”

Among the MPs who have continued to employ spouses following the June election are several members of the Cabinet, including Tory chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Several of Jeremy Corbyn ’s top team also employ spouses, including Labour chairman Ian Lavery and shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner.

There is no suggestion any of the existing MPs who continue to employ family members have done anything wrong.

Ms Runswick said it was ‘reasonable’ to give MPs’ families time to prepare for a new clampdown – but said a ‘time limit’ was needed on how long the current situation could continue.

“A transitional period is reasonable, particularly as the snap election means that these rules have come into force three years earlier than expected,” she said. …

… Darren Hughes, acting chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said it was fair to phase out the practice over the coming years.

“Given the high rate of turnover of both MPs and staff, it is clear that within the next few electoral cycles it will apply to the vast majority of Parliamentary staff,” he said.

“Voters must be able to have confidence that our democracy is resourced in an open and transparent way, so it’s welcome that Parliamentary authorities have taken steps to reform the system.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/one-five-mps-still-using-10907964

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