Peter Hoskin

Keeping it in the family | 12 March 2009

Keeping it in the family | 12 March 2009
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With Brown publishing a list of ministerial interests today - some two years late, and possibly delayed by Peter Mandelson's complex financial dealings - the Evening Standard has the scoop that around 30 figures in the Goverment employ family members at the taxpayers' expense:

"Nearly 30 members of the Government employ their family at the taxpayer's expense, the Evening Standard reveals today.

They include four Cabinet members who are using public funds to pay for their spouses, partners or children to be on their staff.

Among the claimants are Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, housing minister Margaret Beckett, Europe minister Caroline Flint, children's minister Beverley Hughes and Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, who all attend Cabinet.

Armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth, transport minister Paul Clark, defence minister Quentin Davies, environment minister Jane Kennedy, education minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry, foreign office minister Bill Rammell, Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson, work and pensions minister Jonathan Shaw, overseas aid minister Michael Foster and communities minister Iain Wright also have their spouses or other relatives working for them." To be clear, there's no evidence of wrongdoing here.  But, after the Derek Conway affair, this "keeping it in the family" culture will hardly restore people's faith in the poltical class.