MPs’ EXPENSES are under fresh scrutiny today after more than 100 revealed they employ relatives from the public purse.
A new list of those who use their parliamentary allowances to pay family members featured the head of the House of Commons anti-sleaze committee and one of the MPs in charge of reviewing their expenses regime.
Two local MPs are included in the list – Kali Mountford (Colne Valley) and Chris McCafferty (Calder Valley).
Ms McCafferty (Calder Valley) employs her husband, David Tarlo, as parliamentary assistant.
Ms Mountford (Colne Valley) employs her husband, Ian Leedham, as office manager.
The list also included three ministers – Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn and Housing Minister Caroline Flint.
The disclosure of 106 MPs who employ relatives follows MP Derek Conway’s 10-day suspension from the Commons for overpaying his son out of his allowances.
There is no suggestion that those who have volunteered the information have broken the rules.
But Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the employment of relatives was “completely outdated” and raised suspicions about MPs’ motives.
“To ordinary taxpayers, Parliament is a gravy train at the best of times, but the fact that so many MPs employ family members is simply unacceptable,” he said.
Under the staffing allowance MPs can now spend more than £90,000 on employees.
Of those declared today, 54 are Labour MPs, 39 Conservative, eight Liberal Democrat, one independent, two DUP and two Scottish National Party.
The list could yet grow, as it will only become compulsory to declare employee-relatives on August 1.