Figures released yesterday by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority showed that dozens of MPs continue to employ spouses, partners and other family members.
Eve Burt, the wife of Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, said MPs' spouses were "legally within our rights" to work for husbands or wives, and argued that the arrangement was popular in Westminster not as a way of "topping up family income" but because of the unusual nature of the job. Mrs Burt said:"We are doing a job. I could be doing a job for somebody else and earning a salary. Are MPs' families not allowed to earn salaries?
"I think it's done so much because it is very practical."