Doesn\’t Look Good

Peter Hain employs his 80-year-old mother on a Commons salary of £5,400 a year, he has admitted.

The former cabinet minister, who recently resigned after donations to his Labour deputy leadership campaign were referred to the police, has employed Adelaine Hain as a part-time secretary for 16 years.

Then again, where else are you going to get someone literate for that sort of sum?

Owen Paterson, the shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland whose wife Rose is paid almost £30,000 year to work for him, said: "If you can find me a Cambridge graduate who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of my constituency, who is willing to work long and anti-social hours at very short notice for that sort of salary then good luck. Until then, my wife is the best person for the job."

Quite.

8 comments on “Doesn\’t Look Good

  1. “Rubbish. Its public money…”

    Oh, well, if it’s public money then all the usual rules will need to apply. Perhaps each MP that employs spouses or relatives will need to ensure they meet with all the diversity targets too…? That’ll make for an interesting household!

  2. Bless you, JuliaM, that’s what they should be charged with – institutional racism. The charge that has the singular feature that there is no possibility of being found not guilty. Remember, a racial incident is any incident that anyone might consider to be racist.

  3. Tim,

    Paterson says, “If you can find me a Cambridge graduate who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of my constituency, who is willing to work long and anti-social hours at very short notice for that sort of salary then good luck. Until then, my wife is the best person for the job.”

    This is a disturbing comment.

    Is he saying that education to Cambridge standard is necessary to do the job for which he’s employed his wife? If this is the case, then it must apply to all other MP’s, so only those whose staff are educated to Oxbridge standard are properly servicing their constituents. This conclusion seems perverse.

    Or is he saying that he weighted the fact that his wife is a Cambridge graduate into a job spec which he presumably wrote? This begs the question as to what Mrs. Paterson would be using her Cambridge degree for were she not working for her husband. Did she pursue a career after Cambridge, which she gave up in order to work for her husband? Was she in fact working at all at the point she went onto his payroll?

    If he thinks £30,000 is a large salary for working long and anti-social hours, he can be assured that many others work longer and even more anti-social hours for much less.

    Previous comments concerning the extreme flexibility which MP’s seem to have in their hiring criteria seem to apply. If everyone else in the public sector must satisfy the scrutiny of audit in their recruitment procedures, so should they. I hope that each of their constituencies offices possesses a grievance procedure and an accident book.

  4. Tim,

    A propos of nothing, I checked Paterson’s Wikipedia page – you will see that he was born in 1956 –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Paterson

    His wife is named as ‘The Hon. Rose Ridley’.

    Now, I may be getting dreadfully confused here, but it would be very interesting whether or not Mrs. Paterson is the same ‘The Hon Rose Emily Ridley born 13 August 1956’, who is the daughter of the 4th Viscount Ridley KG, the sister of Matt ‘Northern Rock’ Ridley and the niece of the late Nicholas Ridley –

    http://www.thepeerage.com/p8563.htm#i85624

    and

    http://www.thepeerage.com/p8563.htm#i85621

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Ridley,_4th_Viscount_Ridley

    This is not intended to cast any aspersions on the lady’s qualifications, capabilities or suitability for the post; but is she is, one ,ight think that the Telegraph might have been a little more candid.

  5. My apologies – that last sentence should have read,

    “but if she is one might think that the Telegraph could have been a little more candid.”

  6. Of course the problem here is that it is in the supervisors best interests to cover up the fact that no actual work is being done, and there was never a job there in the first place. It would never be feasible to set any reliable criteria to audit such a scenario, so the only alternative is to bar family and friends of the MP from occupying such a post during his/her tenure. Otherwise there is too much scope for fraud.

  7. “Is he saying that education to Cambridge standard is necessary to do the job for which he’s employed his wife? If this is the case, then it must apply to all other MP’s, so only those whose staff are educated to Oxbridge standard are properly servicing their constituents. This conclusion seems perverse.”

    Not really perverse, because these days you need to hire a Cambridge graduate in order to find someone who can write a letter to a constituent without putting an apostrophe in the the plural of “MP.”

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