Unite prepares to defend MPs’ family

By politics.co.uk staff

The union Unite will oppose any attempt to ban the use of MPs’ spouses in office work, officials have announced.

Many expect the Kelly review into expenses to demand the practice is banned when it finally delivers its verdict next week.

Unite has vowed to oppose the move. It will hold a surgery with relatives of MPs next week to go through the options available to them.

Even if the plans are phased in the union, which represent public sector workers, is expected to protest the measures.

Unite plans to use employment law to prevent Sir Christopher Kelly from forcing family members to give up their jobs.

Dan Whittle, chairman of the Unite parliamentary staff branch, said: “Whether it is unfair dismissal or discrimination law, we will offer our members whatever protection we can.

“Family members of MPs’ staff save the taxpayer money by working many hours in unpaid overtime. The majority of the public want employment of family members to be transparent and regulated – not banned.”

Around 200 MPs employ family members as parliamentary secretaries or office managers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also received complaints about possible action from the Kelly review, on the basis that it constitutes discrimination.