Documents show that Paul Cottingham was given secretarial allowances worth £8,143 a month to administer in 2002. This was the maximum allowance available at the time. Euro-MPs can now receive an allowance for staff of £160,000 a year.
Mr Cashman says that he currently pays his civil partner an annual salary of £30,000 inclusive of expenses. However, he has so far not disclosed how the rest of the allowance is distributed after being given to Mr Cottingham. It is known he employs at least one other Brussels-based assistant.
To be fair here, there\’s a slight undercurrent as well: somehow the implication is left dangling that employing his "civil partner" is in some way different or worse than employing "wife" or "husband".
And whatever the precise relationship, if they\’re doing the work then it\’s difficult to see too much wrong with it. It\’s if they\’re not that the problems start…