They say turkeys never vote for Christmas. But MPs are likely to wave through new rules which force them to disclose any relatives on their payroll. The move, a response to the Derek Conway scandal, was announced by the Committee on Standards and Privileges in a press release on February 5.
With all leaders of the three main parties urging greater transparency – hoping to head off further damaging revelations – the move is likely to pass through the Commons unopposed when a vote takes place in March.
Interestingly, the members of the CSP still haven’t quite decided how the new disclosures will work. There will be a new column on the register of members’ interests for them to report any family connections. But it probably won’t reveal how much these secretaries and researchers are being paid.
And MPs won’t necessarily have to disclose the names of the relatives. The committee is mulling the pros and cons of whether members will have to write "my daughter", for example, or actually name her.
The real grey area in this will be lovers/"friends"/ex-lovers. My understanding is that MPs will only have to name relatives and maybe their longterm partners. If an MP is, ahem, "courting" his secretary or researcher he will not have to declare this on the register. That could still prove a can of worms some years down the line.