Nice work if you can get it.
The rumpus over MP's allowances and especially concerning MP's turning their offices into a family affair has erupted this week after Derek Conway was ousted for having employed his son as a 'researcher' when in fact nobody could find what research he had done.
This newly resurgent interest in the behind the scenes goings-on of MP's offices caused another uncomfortable moment for our very own Adrian Sanders who employs the services of wife Alison and the Lib Dem group leader Cllr Steve Darling doing undisclosed work for an undisclosed amount.
The response to probing enquiries by the local newspaper was initially to agree for the need for transparency but, er, not just now thank-you very much. So apart from what is already in the public domain by law Mr Sanders refuses to say how much he pays his wife or what she does for the money.
His sole defence is that this information is confidential, but I and others say that as he is our MP and his salary, along with nearly all other civil servants salaries are in the public domain, so should the renumeration paid to his wife by you and I. He is quick to comment on the salary paid to the Mayor, and the borough's chief executive, and by hotels to their staff and he can do so because these salaries are published.
For all I know Mrs Sanders could well be paid a pittance for working all the hours under the sun, but he won't say and we cannot make him 'fess up; so I guess us taxpayers who fund this will never actually know. I suppose his refusal to come clean about this tells us all we need to know really because if she was earning peanuts I think he would be falling over himself to say so.
It really would be the ultimate Hypocrisy if, having banged on about Nick Bye not coming up with enough 'well paid' local jobs it transpired that the MP himself had had two or three well paid local jobs that he simply handed out to his mates.
The answer to all this is quite clear, civil servants public company managers and all the other legislators in the western world are banned from nepotism and employing spouses or family is not allowed unless in the most exceptional circumstances and with the closest scrutiny. This is not just to avoid the potential questions of fraud, but it is also because these relationships are usually unfair on other workers; it is just obvious that a spouse is not going to behave or be treated in the same manner as a regular employee by his or her boss and this gives rise to unfairness and resentment.
MP's must decide that their taxpayer funded paid, non-political assistants must be hired on merit and merit alone after a free and open (advertised) recruitment procedure available to all to apply; and family members must be excluded.