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MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 21/04/2017 NIcholas Cecil

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A ban on MPs employing their spouses is to come in within weeks under a new expenses crackdown.

The restriction was due to be introduced in 2020.

But now it will be enforced immediately after the general election. It will apply to new MPs and re-elected MPs who do not currently employ their spouse, partner or other relatives. They can get around the new rules by putting their spouse or other “connected party” on their books before the election.

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Other changes being introduced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority after June 8 include:

Cutting “associated expenditure”, such as for utility bills, for MPs who own their own home from £8,850 to £5,000 a year.


(Video credit: Sky News)

MPs with constituencies outside the London area who claim the £3,820-a-year London Area Living Payment, rather than the budget to rent a second home, will be barred from doing so.

MPs are being warned to use their “discretion” on buying equipment such as computers after a surge of such spending before the 2015 election. The expenses watchdog will scrutinise such claims and make them public.

As of March, 151 MPs were employing “connected parties” — including spouses or other relatives — at an annual cost of more than £3 million.

However, IPSA chairwoman Ruth Evans has described the employment of “connected parties” as out of step with modern employment practice which requires “fair and open recruitment” to encourage diversity.

Staff members who begin a relationship with an MP while working for him, or her, will have their publicly funded contract terminated after two years as partner or spouse.


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