Tuesday, March 03, 2009

That'll be £9600 please, Mrs Spelman. Cash.

The tax-paying public have a right to know how their money is being spent and politicians have a duty to ensure it is spent properly.

David Cameron - 2008

In a tidy piece of parliamentary defensive sleight of hand, the Parliamentary Standards Commission report has excused Caroline Spelman's use of public funds to pay her nanny as an oversight, but has demanded the return of the thick end of ten grand.

The full report can be read here, but here are a couple of salient points

212. ...the salary which Mrs Spelman paid Mrs Haynes from her parliamentary
allowances allowed Mrs Haynes to undertake her nannying duties for two years
without additional or separate financial reward which Mrs Spelman would
otherwise have had to have given her.

213. The problem was not in my judgement the dual roles undertaken by Mrs Haynes, but the remuneration arrangements made by Mrs Spelman for the two roles. These arrangements led in my judgement to Mrs Haynes’ work as a nanny being subsidised by the payment for her work as an administration assistant.

214. My finding therefore is that Mrs Spelman was in breach of the rules of the House when she incurred parliamentary expenditure for the employment in her constituency of her administration assistant because that expenditure was not incurred wholly or exclusively in support of her parliamentary duties, but was also used to support her assistant’s separate work as her live-in children’s nanny.

But it is all OK - she was under a lot of stress at the time, so we'll say no more about it.

For more on the Spelman case, look here and here and here and here.

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