MPs will be able to employ any family members except their children
MPs are to be banned from employing their children with taxpayers’ money under new proposals outlined yesterday by Harriet Harman, the Leader of the Commons.
The move is an attempt to address concerns raised about the abuse of research jobs and expenses sparked by the Derek Conway affair. The Tory MP channelled tens of thousands of pounds into the bank accounts of his two sons for work they apparently did while they were at universities outside London. The proposals – under which spouses and partners of MPs would still be able to be employed – are outlined in a consultation paper which says such abuses have undermined faith in the House of Commons. “Recent instances of MPs employing their children have raised public concern and dented public confidence,” the paper says.
Ms Harman’s proposals could form part of a package of reforms implemented by the Prime Minister as he tries to fight back after a summer of Labour infighting. Ms Harman also said yesterday that the Government was consulting MPs about the need for receipts to be produced for all claims for reimbursement from the public purse, in an attempt to clean up the image of Parliament. Currently, MPs do not have to provide receipts for transactions of £250 and under.
“MPs…must have the resources to do their work effectively, and they must command the confidence, respect and trust of the public,” Ms Harman said. “We need arrangements which achieve both these aims.”
Currently at least 22 MPs employ their children; some MPs have given jobs to more than one of their offspring.
Nothing wrong with it, to be fair – so long as it is done honestly and the family members / partners have actually worked for the money.
The news will rankle with the police, members of the Armed Forces, pensioners and many others. It is time to set up an independent commission, devoid of any MPs in its composition, to look at the rates of pay and expenses for MPs, and to make recommendations on which MPs will vote. Such a commission would be guided by the needs of the economy, fairness and the availability of suitable alternative candidates for the job of MP.
Sir, MPs impose severe restrictions on local councillors regarding expenses. Receipts are required, minimal expenditure is expected and recorded declarations must be made of any received hospitality above the value of £25. Yet they don’t seem to wish similar expectations to be applied to themselves.
… once the person is no longer an MP, I see no reason why he or she should be allowed to continue to benefit from owning a second home which, generally, will have risen significantly in value and which the taxpayer has provided. Once no longer required, these second homes should be sold and the proceeds returned to the public purse.