CHESHIRE MPs could be forced to sack their wives during the next five years.
Proposals outlined in Sir Christopher Kelly’s report on MPs’ expenses and allowances, published yesterday, recommend that family members currently employed by an MP may be allowed to continue to work for a further Parliament.
But once five years has passed, family members paid for by the tax payer will be forced to step down from their roles, if these recommendations are met.
Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller employs his wife, Fran, as his Whitby Hall office manager.
She said: “I have been too busy working so I have still not had chance to read it or even consider it.”
On being told she may be allowed to keep her job for another five years after the next general election, she said: ‘No comment’.
Mr Miller also employs his cousin Julie Spencer as a senior researcher based in London, who questioned the legality of Sir Kelly’s proposals.
She said: “On what lawful basis can Sir Christopher Kelly instruct Andrew Miller to force me out in five years’ time. I have a contract of employment and I have worked for Andrew for 16 years.
“I used to work in the private sector and was earning more 20 years ago than I am today, but I made that choice for the change and I felt like I could make a difference.”
City of Chester MP Christine Russell, who does not employ any family member in her staff, described the recommendations as ‘incredibly unfair’.
Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien employs his wife Gemma as a part-time researcher but he declined to comment as he had not yet read the report.
Weaver Vale MP Mike Hall also employs his wife Lesley as office manager but she was also unavailable for comment.
The proposals are made in the 144-page report, available on line, and also include recommendations on MPs’ expenses regarding mortgages, second homes, cleaning bills and capital gains.
Sir Kelly’s proposal on family members reads: “Our main recommendation on staffing is that the employment by MPs of members of their own families, paid out of public funds, should be brought to an end.
“We have proposed transitional arrangements which would allow those currently employed to remain in their positions for one further Parliament.”
MPs will still be able to select and directly appoint their own staff.