16 Yorkshire MPs employ family members through their staffing allowance, with some salaries reaching up to £40 000 for part time roles
A Leeds Now investigation has revealed 16 Yorkshire MPs employ family members – referred to as ‘connected parties’ – paying their salaries though the taxpayer-funded staffing costs. These jobs range from researchers, to office managers, to secretaries, in both part-time and full-time roles.
Robert Goodwill, Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, stressed that his wife – Maureen Goodwill, working as an Office Manager – served as a valuable resource during the pandemic, committing to unfavourable working hours and responding to “double the amount” of constituent concerns relating to Covid-19.
Mr Goodwill said “Because we are in the same “bubble” it has really helped communications and, as she is not limited by fixed office hours, we have been able to deal with constituent’s problems during evenings and weekends.”
Prior to 2010, MPs saw no restrictions on their ability to employ family members. Changes to the rules in May 2010 meant MPs could only employ one connected party, and they had to be paid within IPSA pay ranges.
“Working with my wife has been invaluable “MP Robert Goodwill
An IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) review in 2017 caused further changes, resulting in a ban on MPs hiring family members after recognising how “it can be perceived as providing personal gain to MPs and their families at the taxpayer’s expense”.
The report stated, “In order to encourage good practice in recruitment and employment by MPs, and to assure the public about the appropriate use of taxpayer’s money, we should restrict the practice in the future”.
One unnamed MP was quoted in the report, saying ” the employment of connected parties was unjust and encourages nepotism”.
The CSPL (Committee on Standards in Public Life) were in agreement with the decision made: “the practice is out of step with modern employment”.
IPSA revealed many MPs have strongly expressed their views about the value of having people close to them. MP Robert Goodwill reinforced this sentiment, revealing his dismay at the negative attitudes surrounding the topic.
“Sadly most media coverage is negative in this area but actually it works for me”.
|MP and Constituency||Party Alliance||Employee name and relation||Employee role||Salary range (thousands)|
|Graham Stuart, Beverley and Holderness||Conservative||Nicola Roberts, sister||Part-time Senior Parliamentary Assistant||£25-30|
|Imran Hussain, Bradford East||Labour||Kamran Hussian, brother||Full-time Office Manager||£25-30|
|Judith Cummins, Bradford South||Labour||Mark Cummins, husband||Part-time Senior Researcher||£35-40|
|Craig Whittaker, Calder Valley||Conservative||Sophie Whittaker, daughter||Full-time Executive Office Manager||£30-35|
|Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes||Conservative||Ann Vickers, wife||Part-time Junior Secretary||£5-10|
|Sir Greg Knight, East Yorkshire||Conservative||Janet Knight, wife||Full-time Parliamentary Assistant||£20-25|
|Alec Shelbrooke, Elmet and Rothwell||Conservative||Susan Shelbrooke, wife||Part-time Senior Secretary||£5-10|
|Dame Diana Johnson, Kingston upon Hull North||Labour||Kevin Morton, spouse||Full-time Office Manager||£35-40|
|Hilary Benn, Leeds Central||Labour||Sally Clark, wife||Part-time Office Manager/ Senior Parliamentary Assistant||£30-35|
|Fabian Hamilton, Leeds North East||Labour||Rosemary Hamilton, wife||Part-time Researcher||£10-15|
|Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby||Conservative||Maureen Goodwill, wife||Part-time Office Manager||£30-35|
|Nigel Adams, Selby and Ainsty||Conservative||Claire Adams, wife||Part-time Office Manager||£15-20|
|Clive Betts, Sheffield South West||Labour||James Thomas, spouse||Full-time Senior Parliamentary Assistant||£40-45|
|Gill Furniss, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough||Labour||Emily Grace Ahmed, daughter||Part-time Constituency Support Manager||£25-30|
|John Healey, Wentworth and Dearne||Labour||Jackie Bate, wife||Part-time Office Manager||£20-25|
|Julian Sturdy, York Outer||Conservative||Victory Sturdy, wife||Part-time Principal Secretary||£25-30|