Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Family-friendly values

"Making your spouse your secretary is the best way to avoid the disruption and heartache of making your secretary your spouse."

That advice, from the Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn, has been taken by more than a few MPs.
It's estimated that around 200 employ relatives, be they spouses, nieces, or parents.

Fourteen of the 40 Welsh MPs currently employ staff who are related to them and will presumably be caught in the new rules proposed by Sir Christopher Kelly. You can read the full list here.

Plaid Cymru's three MPs do not feature on the list. As their parliamentary leader, Elfyn Llwyd, puts it: "We have had a policy that we have never employed members of our families."

That policy, he says, is party-wide, dates from 1993, and applies also to members of the Welsh Assembly.
That may be news to two of the party's Assembly Members, Mohammad Asghar and Jocelyn Davies, the latter a deputy Housing Minister in Cardiff.

According to the latest register of AMs' interests, each of them employs their spouses part-time in constituency offices.

Perhaps they were unaware of established party rules. Either way, they are likely to be the last Plaid Cymru politicians to keep it in the family. The party has accepted unanimously new rules that AMs "should not henceforward make any new appointments of family members."

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