One of the rules MPs managed to block when it was proposed by Sir Christopher Kelly’s Committee on Standards in Public Life was the ban on employing family as staff members. Nepotism being the oldest and most basic form of petty corruption.
Staff Members with same surname as employer MPs:
MPs will protest that they pay their spouse / son / daughter / sibling a pittance and they work extra long hours and suchlike. The truth is they deny someone more competent the chance of a job won in open competition. Many MPs really use the staff allowance as a subsidy to family members. Who can forget Derek Conway’s lavish family staffing arrangements, with payments to offspring at university? Peter Hain’s employment of his octogenarian mother despite having a staff of civil servants, special advisers, private secretaries, secretaries and case workers. Bob Spink famously employed his former wife, his lover and her daughter.
Many MPs now employ their wives / partners in their maiden names to disguise the dodge. For example Elaina Cohen is Khalid Mahmood’s partner – he dumped his wife for her – but contrary to the rules of the House he doesn’t declare the relationship. No doubt some of the above will have innocent explanations for why – against best private sector practise – they issue staff passes to family members. They shouldn’t do it, it is nepotism.
*The ‘it’ being our taxes. Research thanks to co-conspirator, James Spencer.