The building industry employs plenty of family members, so why do MPs get such a rough deal?
I would like to hereby reveal that one of my very close family members draws a very good salary from my business practise. So far so good. Not much difference to Member of Parliament for Old Bexley & Sidcup, Derek Conway.
His employee was his son or two. My employee is Mrs Bingham. The MP’s son, while drawing the salary was a full-time student. It was, says the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee: “At the least, an improper use of parliamentary allowances; at worst a serious diversion of public funds.”
And if you suggested to Mrs Bingham that she actually isn’t about her employer husband’s business day in day out, seven days a week (she stops to tidy my sock draw), you will get a very thick ear!!
Are you, or is your boss, or are the directors, or owners, of your building or architectural firm employing very close family members who, (how shall we put it) are not visible or overpaid? And if so, will that arrangement put an end to the boss’s career? It has ended Mr Conway’s career. Same meat different gravy.
So far, the Times newspaper has discovered 62 MPs employing family members. As yet, the Times, hasn’t asked how many members of the construction industry do the same. What’s your guess in numbers? Hundreds? Nah! Thousands? Nah! Tens of thousands? Who knows?
It doesn’t matter a jot if the family member is actually doing a job. But if not, does that mean that the boss’s career is ended? Does it mean that Scotland Yard will take an interest? Will there be another boom in building prisons, if only we had enough bosses to build them?
I once knew a company where all the director’s wives were well paid, all had company cars, all played lots of golf. The taxman had a blind eye. I once knew an architect who took fees from local contractors. I once knew a builder who built modest extensions on customer’s homes while building their office blocks.
Oh Mr Conway, poor you. Just doing what lots of others do. A norm that turned nasty.