Thursday, 31 January 2008

British MPs may be banned from employing family members.

In the wake of the Derek Conway affair there are calls for MPs to be banned from employing family members.

Whilst many of us have little time for MPs in general it seems a little OTT to ban them from employing family members. Who they employ should just be more transparent and accountable. There should be some check that the work is actually carried out and the pay reasonable for it.

It has not been unknown for an MP to marry their secretary. Are they to be forced to sack them if they do and would that not contravene their rights?

There are other family businesses that work well enough and no one questions at all. The problem here is that public money is involved. Still we allow MPs to set their own wages and hours. To some extent this is as open to abuse as the employing of family members.

Surely a member of an MP’s family who was actually doing what they were paid for, at a fare rate, would be more likely to have the MP’s interests at heart, be more loyal, trustworthy and discreet, far less open to being turned by a reporter.

Maybe parliament should have something like (dare I say it), an HR department, to oversee the employment contracts, wages, expenses and hours - to keep things more honest and above-board on a more formal basis.

2 comments:

jams o donnell said...

I can't see anything fundamentally wrong with employing family members, just so long as they are doing the job they are paid for. Maybe the HR department woul;d not be a bad idea if it can ensure sure there is no repeat of the Derek Conway affair.

Beter scrutiny of expenses too. Does my MP, a Romford boy, really need a flat in Central London?

Phil A said...

Jams, What’s the travel time to Westminster from Romford on a good day? About fifty minutes each way. That’s assuming parliamentary duties dovetail and are not outside the hours tube and over ground trains run.

Having a flat near or in Westminster would save them around two hours a day.

Having a flat in London probably paid for largely out of public money would save a lot of people a few hours a day, come to think of it and a nice little investment too…