November 15, 2021 2.34 pm

Three Greater Lincolnshire MPs employ wives in rules loophole

One MP felt it should be allowed

Three long-serving Greater Lincolnshire MPs still employ their wives – despite a tightening of rules on working with family members.

The House of Commons’ Register of Members’ Financial Interests for November shows Conservatives South Holland MP John Hayes, Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh and Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers all employ their wives.

However, the MPs have not broken any parliamentary rules. Under Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority rules introduced in 2010, following the expenses scandal of 2009, MPs could only employ one “connected party” under an IPSA pay bracket – though those hired prior to the change could keep their previous salary.

Then in 2017 IPSA announced it was providing no further funding to new members to employ “connected parties”, meaning those elected afterwards have not been able to employ close family or partners.

Here are the roles and pay according to the IPSA annual budgets, costs and claims for 2019-2020:

  • Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who has been in office since 2010, hired his wife Ann part-time as junior secretary with a connected party salary of £10,000-14,999.99
  • Gainsborugh MP Sir Edward Leigh, who has been in office since 1997, hired his wife Mary full-time as secretary for a salary of £35,000-39,999.99
  • South Holland MP John Hayes, who has been in office since 1997, hired his wife Susan part-time as administrative manager for a salary of £40,000-44,999.99

Mr Hayes’ wife was a qualified political researcher prior to their meeting and has been working for him for many years.

Mr Hayes feels the rules should be loosened to allow the hiring of family members but said there should be strict requirements.

“MPs should be allowed to employ someone related to them if they are well qualified to do so and they provide value for money,” he said.

It is thought some MPs feel their partners understand their stances on various topics due to the amount of time spent together both at work and home and are able to relay that in their absence. Some also delegate issues and contacts while their spouse is in the House of Commons.

According to the iNews more than one in eight MPs nationally – a total of 86 – employed a family member in the last financial year. It equates to a total of £2.5million of taxpayer’s money.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney previously hired his wife as office manager prior to losing his seat in 2017.

According to the register and IPSA she has not worked for him as a connected party since November 2019.

Sir Edward Leigh and Martin Vickers have both been asked for comment.

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