James Forsyth

Should MPs be able to employ their relatives?

Should MPs be able to employ their relatives?
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The 1922 committee of Tory MPs is meeting now and the word is that there will be a concerted push to defend the right of MPs to employ their relatives; something that MPs on all sides fear the Kelly review will try to ban.

In a Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion way, it is easy to say that MPs shouldn’t be able to employ family members. But there is no doubt that there are a lot of relatives, and spouses especially, who are working extremely hard for their salary. Given the hours MPs work and the fact that they have to be in two places, one can see why so many favour this arrangement.

A possible compromise being kicked about here at Westminster is that MPs might be allowed to employ one relative each. This strikes me as a sensible move. It would prevent people from putting the whole family on the payroll at the expense of the taxpayer but it wouldn’t stop couples from working as a team.