Wednesday, 4 November 2009


The Committee on Standards in Public Life has, today, published the “Kelly Report”.

Family members, employed by Members of Parliament, wish to respond to today’s launch which has finally been delivered after days of leaks and speculation. They have said:

“We are sure we speak on behalf of a large number of the very many hardworking colleagues who work for their parliamentary husbands and wives. First, we are of the opinion that the “family members” matter is an employment issue that should have been addressed entirely separately from the rest of an inquiry which relates to MPs’ allowances and expenses. The matter of employment
should be examined as a separate entity by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority when the new committee sits in the Spring, 2010.

Now that this report is in the public arena we wish to see the question of employment removed and looked at separately.

A number of working spouses made submissions to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and some gave evidence in person, in the expectation that the unique nature of the job that we do would be recognised. Sadly this has proven not to be the case. The proposed “transitional arrangements” do not address or recognise the value of existing arrangements.

We have explained in detail the work that we do, and we believe we give value for money to the taxpayer – indeed, we are taxpayers ourselves.

We are a highly professional group of people, dedicated to serving our MP’s constituents. Like other workers we have Contracts of Employment and we are paid to scales scrutinised and approved by the House authorities. If anyone wishes to follow an “audit trail” our records of work are open and entirely transparent.

We are all only too aware that a very few abuses of the employment of family members have done a great deal of damage to the reputation of those working for MPs to whom they are related. We, of course, wish to see that damage redressed while at the same time recognising the very real contribution that working spouses and other family members can continue to make to the smooth and efficient running of parliamentary and constituency offices.

The Kelly Report will now be considered, before implementation, by the IPSA. We hope and expect that Andrew MacDonald, the CEO, and his new team will not only examine the Kelly findings but will re-visit the submissions that we have made and we stand ready to, once again, give evidence to IPSA in an endeavour to deliver a satisfactory way forward.”

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