The wives of MPs, facing the sack as their husband’s parliamentary secretaries and office managers, are hatching plans to defy what they see as an unfair ban by swapping jobs with one another.
They are preparing to apply for employment with each other’s spouses if Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, goes ahead next month with plans to ban MPs from employing relatives.
The measure would affect about 200 MPs who employ wives, husbands, children and more distant relations on the parliamentary payroll.
Let me be clear about this: I don't have a problem with an MP employing his family, but it's very easy to be tolerant of a value-for-money mismatch when it's your wife or kid who isn't pulling their weight. And it's probably easier for a spouse to not pull their weight if they know that they they can withhold "favours" or whatever.
And of course, there are doubtlessly many MPs who just use their family "staff" as a way of boosting overall family income.
But if they wife swap, then a little bit of that casual acceptance of poor standards of work will go away and maybe, just maybe, things will get a little better overall.