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  • Newsnight
  • 24 Apr 08, 07:01 PM

The new Register of MPs Interests, published today (24 April), lists 106 MPs who employ their wives, husbands, or other relatives, and pay them from their Parliamentary Staffing allowances.

This is the first time MPs have had the opportunity to declare this, though it won't be compulsory to do so until 1 August. Until then, it's still voluntary whether MPs register such details or not.

A lot of MPs seem to have delayed registration, perhaps because it's such a sensitive issue.

Perhaps the most glaring omission so far is the Speaker Michael Martin (who employs his daughter as a constituency case-worker), which may not go down well with his critics when he is officially overseeing the enquiries into reforming the whole expenses system.

Other omissions include Margaret Beckett, who employs her husband Leo, and Sir Ming Campbell who employs his wife Elspeth.

peter_robinson.jpgSeveral MPs are revealed to employ more than one relative, whilst the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Peter Robinson, and his wife Iris, who is also an MP, have turned politics into a real family business. Peter Robinson himself employs both their son and daughter-in-law, whilst Iris Robinson employs another son, and their daughter. So six Robinsons in all are paid by Parliament in one way or another. I can see headlines along the lines of "something Family Robinson" in tomorrow's papers.

It's also interesting to see that the former Conservative leader Michael Howard employs his wife Sandra as a part-time secretary. I'm surprised she has the time with her new novel-writing career. (I've just read her first novel, Glass Houses, by the way, and rather enjoyed it.)

Last February, when this issue first blew up over the Derek Conway affair, Newsnight identified 96 MPs who employed relatives (see past blogs). Many on the Newsnight list have yet to submit their details on this to the official register, but equally the register published today has furnished us with 56 more names. So the total of names is now 152; by 1 August that total could well reach 200 or more.

The new names are:

Janet Anderson
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
John Battle
John Bercow
Clive Betts
Graham Brady
Russell Brown
Paul Burstow
Richard Caborn
William Cash
Sir Patrick Cormack
Stephen Crabb
Claire Curtis-Thomas
David Davies
Paul Farrelly
Paul Flynn
Michael Foster (Hastings)
Cheryl Gillan
Robert Goodwill
James Gray
Sir Aan Haselhurst
Michael Howard
Adam Ingram
Michael Jack
Diana Johnson
Robert Key
Julie Kirkbride
John MacDougall
John Mann
Patrick Mercer
John McFall
Elliot Morley
Kali Mountford
Andrew Murrison
Mark Oaten
Richard Ottaway
James Paice
Nick Palmer
Bill Rammell
Angus Robertson
John Robertson
Iris Robinson
Peter Robinson
Lee Scott
Dennis Skinner
Jacqui Smith
Graham Stuart
Ian Taylor
Matthew Taylor
Don Touhig
Andrew Turner
Mike Weir
Betty Williams
David Wilshire
Phil Wilson

Thursday, 24 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Apr 08, 06:43 PM

pay203x100.jpgWith the GCSEs on the horizon teachers from the NUT have gone on strike. It comes as other public service unions, and the police, are very uneasy about pay settlements. Is Gordon Brown facing a spring of discontent?

American intelligence officials are to give a secret briefing to members of Congress about an Israeli air-strike in Syria last September. It's being reported that evidence has emerged which shows Syria was building a nuclear reactor with North Korean help. We'll have the latest on this story and we'll be joined in studio by the Syrian Ambassador to the UK.

"Too many fat ladies!", "Sky high tickets!" Every few years the opera world goes through a period of self-flagellation, deciding that to reach those longed-for new young audiences it has to DO SOMETHING RADICAL. This time, the English National Opera is leading the charge. Opera, it says, is just not as intense or relevant or political as the movies or the theatre. And it's got to change fast. Madeleine Holt investigates.

Prospects for Thursday, 24 April

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Apr 08, 11:08 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.
Good morning everyone,

Email is now back up and running. There's lots around today. There's more on the mess over 10p tax, and it's a big day for public sector strikes.

We've got an interview with ANC President Jacob Zuma and a film on new opera from Madeleine and Henrietta.

Playout anyone?

See you in a minute,


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