Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway has a new staff member at his Westminster office: a local teenager called Madeleine Hale.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Hale is the daughter of senior Conservative Croydon councillor, Lynne Hale.
Lynne Hale is another Croydon Tory who doubles up on her jobs at the public’s expense. Not satisfied with raking in £45,000 in council allowances, Sanderstead councillor Hale supplements her bank balance with an estimated £25,000 pa from the taxpayer as one of Ottaway’s parliamentary assistants.
And it appears that Hale has managed to get her teenaged daughter on to the state’s payroll, too, with a summer job in her mate’s office. Presumably, this plum job at the cradle of democracy was widely advertised, and is not another instance of jobs for the boys. Or gels.
Keeping publcly funded jobs in the family is something which Ottaway has as a practised art. The MP’s wife, Nicola, was employed as a part-time parliamentary assistant. Maybe the Ottaways could not make ends meet by claiming parliamentary expenses on the chimney sweep and gardening fees for his lovely house in Bletchingley and his second home in Westminster.
Since the MPs’ Expenses Scandal in 2009, there has been a dim view taken of MPs employing their relatives. One Conservative MP, Derek Conway, ultimately lost his job and was even expelled from the Tory party after he was discovered to have “employed” his student son on his Westminster staff on a summer job, at a cost of £13,000, though there was no evidence of any work actually being done.
Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, has said: “To ordinary taxpayers, Parliament is an excessively generous gravy train at the best of times, but the fact that so many MPs employ family members is simply unacceptable.
“To dispel any suspicion that they are taking advantage of taxpayers’ generosity, this practice should be banned once and for all.”
Obviously, employing your chums and their family avoids any such nastiness…
June 21 update: Richard Ottaway has been in touch with us, to deny that Maddy Hale has ever been employed by him in a paid capacity. This contradicts Hale’s own public statements. Please click here for more details
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