HOLYROOD may rethink a ban on MSPs employing family members meant to come into force next year.

The Parliament is likely to consider giving relatives of MSPs an extra year in the job because of fears the original plan could trigger a legal challenge.

Sir Neil McIntosh's 2009 review of Holyrood expenses backed ending the practice of MSPs hiring close family members after widespread concern about relatives getting taxpayer-funded jobs.

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Parliament approved a two-part ban: no new family members could be hired, and relatives currently mon MSPs' staff had to quit from mid-2015.

It was believed then that the Holyrood election would be in May 2015, with the changeover of MSPs making the policy easier to enforce.

However, in a bid to avoid a clash with the 2015 Westminster poll, the next Parliament election was pushed back to 2016.

Although the number of MSPs employing family members has fallen, twelve are still registered as using public funds for this purpose.

It is understood informal discussions have taken place about delaying the 2015 ban by a year.

John Wilson, an SNP MSP for Central Scotland, said: "Following the McIntosh review, the Parliament must keep faith with public and stick to the original decision agreed by MSPs."

Michael McMahon, a Labour MSP who employs his wife, said: "I accepted the McIntosh decision at the time and I'll abide by whatever decision the Parliament makes."

A Holyrood spokesperson said there had been no formal discussion of the issue, but the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body was likely to consider the matter later this year.