MP ques­tions the need for ban on hir­ing fam­ily

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Frankly Speaking -

Can­ter­bury and Whit­stable MP Ju­lian Bra­zier has also crit­i­cised the new ban on hir­ing fam­ily mem­bers.

The Tory, who has rep­re­sented the city since 1987, em­ploys wife Kate for two days a week on a salary close to £15,000.

He has ques­tioned the need for the ban, point­ing to pre­vi­ous rule changes which re­duced the num­ber of “con­nected par­ties” an MP can hire to one.

“I think the cur­rent rules are very bal­anced,” he said. “The con­nected party has to be sub­ject to a proper con­tract set­ting out how may hours they are be­ing paid for, sub­ject to pay scales, which are laid down by par­lia­ment per hour.

“The job of­ten in­volves a lot of work­ing at strange hours and hav­ing your wife con­trol­ling things like your di­ary, par­tic­u­larly on Fri­days and at week­ends, just works that much bet­ter.”

Sir Ju­lian says Kate also over­sees his coun­cil work, li­ais­ing with gov­ern­ment de­part­ments on is­sues in­clud­ing hous­ing, en­vi­ron­men­tal health and ed­u­ca­tion. “There’s no doubt she brings some­thing spe­cial to it,” he said. “It’s not ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial to have a fam­ily mem­ber on the pay­roll, but I think she of­fers ex­tremely good value to the tax­payer for the two days she works for me.

“The new ban is just silly. It’s one more ex­am­ple of peo­ple not liv­ing in the real world.”

Sir Ju­lian Bra­zier MP and his wife Kate

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