SOMERSET NEWS: Labour says Bridgwater MP should stop employing his wife

SOMERSET NEWS: Labour says Bridgwater MP should stop employing his wife

LABOUR supporters in Somerset have said they believe the  Bridgwater and West Somerset Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger should fall into line with new standards in public life and stop employing his wife to help him with his work in parliament.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has said employing family members was “out of step” with modern employment practices.

It has said the need for transparency and good employment practice outweighs the benefits MPs find in hiring relatives.

The 61 MPs who were elected for the first time this year are banned from paying salaries to their spouses, children or other relatives.

But the ban does not apply yet to members elected before 2017. Of those, 122 have said they are employing family members and Mr Liddell- Grainger is one of them.

In the latest register of interests Mr Liddell-Grainger has said he employs his wife, Jill, as a parliamentary assistant.

Cllr Leigh Redman, the Labour group leader at County Hall, believes all MPs should stop employing family members.

“There is a double standard here,” said Cllr Redman. “Some MPs have been made to accept that they cannot employ family members.

“All MPs – including Mr Liddell-Grainger – should recognise that this is an unacceptable practice. Our MP should recruit his staff in an open manner and should not be paying public money to his wife.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger has yet to comment on the matter.

The Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome, David Warburton, also lists his wife, Harriet, in the latest register of interests as an employee as a communications officer and personal assistant.

Somerset’s other MPs – Marcus Fysh (Conservative, Yeovil), James Heappey (Conservative, Wells), and Rebecca Pow (Conservative, Taunton Deane) – do not list any family members as employees in the latest register of interests.

PHOTO - TOP: Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger and his wife Jill.