Thursday, February 07, 2008

Why I support Tory MP employing his wife...despite his dirty tricks

In the wake of the Derek Conway scandal, South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes (Conservative) has revealed that he employs his wife Susan on the public payroll at his Spalding office.

I'll resist the temptation to make cheap points about Mr Hayes - despite his disgraceful attack on me last year when he personally delivered misleading leaflets down my street portraying me as a high claimer of expenses as an elected county councillor, when the reverse is the truth.

I've no idea how many hours Mrs Hayes works for her husband, what she does or how much taxpayers cash she is paid for doing whatever it is she does. Like many MPs of all political persuasions, Mr Hayes doesn't want to say and under present rules, he and his staff are entitled to keep that information secret.

But putting his dirty tricks aside for a moment, I defend his right to properly employ his wife and hope that the fall-out from the Derek Conway scandal will not result in a ban on the practice.

The blatant greed of Mr Hayes' less than honourable colleague in paying his son Freddie £40,000 for doing very little work may change all that. For if the Conway scandal has a silver cloud, it's highlighting the long overdue need for modernisation in what and how Mr Hayes and other MPs claim public funds.

For the sake of democracy itself and restoring trust in those we elect to represent us, it is vital that the expenses and staff salaries are made more transparent and accountable.

But as I've already pointed out, if we follow the American example and ban MPs partners from working for them, I believe we'd be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

If MPs are to provide a service to constituents, it has to be paid for. It's right of course that we should know whether our MP employs a relative, but just because he does, we shouldn't assume the worst.

Despite recent media storm - which has damaged the credibility of all politicians in the public eye - the fact is that many partners of MPs put in long hours of work well beyond the call of duty.

The issue is whether the taxpayer is getting value for money.

Or in the case of Derek Conway, whether we're all being fleeced for loadsa money to pay his family to do nowt.

In the case of Mr Hayes' dirty tricks, I'm sure he wouldn't dream of using my taxes - or yours - to deliver personal attacks on my integrity...


Anonymous said...

This is disgracefully personal.

If John Hayes wants to employ his wife then that is his business and yes Phil, the same goes for the Conways.

I know lots of relations of candidates and politicians who work tirelessly for political parties in the voluntary sector so what's wrong with doing paid work too.

Poll after poll has proven that the current Labour Government is far more sleazy than the last Conservative one.

As John Major recently said wher as under the Conservatives it was a small number of individuals under Labour it is not the individuals at fault but the entire party which is why at the next election your party will be able to stew in opposition for thirteen years (and even more if we're lucky)!!!

fairdealphil said...

Disgracefully personal..?

You are right Geoffrey. The attack delivered by my MP was disgraceful and it was personal.

It was also plainly untrue. A real dirty trick from 'an honourable gentleman'.

Not surprised to see you defending Derek Conman: I suppose someone has to...