MP has three family members on his staff list

When it comes to keeping your family close, Ian Liddell-Grainger, a blue-blooded distant relative of the Queen, could teach other MPs a trick or two.

The latest update to the Commons staff register reveals the Tory representative for Bridgwater and West Somerset has not only put his wife to work in his office but also secured Westminster passes for his two eldest children.

Mr Liddell-Grainger – 336th in line to the throne – is one of nearly 30 MPs to register relatives as staff but the only one of the current crop to register more than one family member.

A spokeswoman for Mr Liddell-Grainger confirmed that while his wife, Jill, did work for the MP, his two eldest children, Peter and Sophie, were only on the list because they had Commons' passes which permitted them to enter the building when they visited their father. "It's so that they can come in and out of the building so he doesn't have to keep coming down to let them in," explains his office.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which imposes a strict rule forbidding MPs from employing more than one relative, says it is not concerned about the set-up as it has no record of the Liddell-Grainger juniors being paid.

Other MPs who have a relative or namesake in the register include Hugo Swire, Margaret Beckett, Hilary Benn and Chris Grayling.

But the true scale of Westminster nepotism is obscured by those MPs who pay relatives who may not share their name or are not related by blood.

Derek Conway's two sons, Henry and Freddie, who earned more than £80,000 while working for their father, was the first of the expenses scandals to hit the Commons, three years ago.

Mr Conway was ordered to repay £17,000 after watchdogs ruled Henry's salary of £10,000 for an 18-hour week was too high. They also said Freddie – then a student – had been "all but invisible" while working for his father.

Earlier this year Ipsa stopped short of introducing a ban on employing relatives but limited the practice to one family member per MP.

Much of the new expenses regime, outlined by Ipsa in March, was tougher than expected and will see the maximum amount handed to MPs cut by almost a third. Those needing second homes will have to move into rented one-bedroom flats, while no expenses will be paid without a receipt. "No ticket, no laundry," said Ipsa's chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy.

But the key concession to allow the employment of wives and children, described as "connected parties" under the new rules, was at the time criticised by both Sir Christopher Kelly, who conducted the wide-ranging review of the old system in the wake of the expenses scandal, and John Bercow, the Speaker of the Commons.

The decision also ignored Ipsa's own consultation on the issue, in which 59 per cent of public responses demanded a ban on the employment of family members, with only 22 per cent backing the practice. But Sir Ian, who was lobbied by MPs, said Ipsa had been convinced by the "quality" rather than the "quantity" of responses. Sir Christopher described the U-turn on employing relatives as "a mistake" that should be reversed as soon as possible. All three main party leaders had backed Sir Christopher's proposals.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen