New rules may hit Isle of Wight MP’s aide

By Ross Findon

Friday, October 30, 2009

 

New rules may hit Isle of Wight MP’s aide

Carole Dennett.

THE future of MP Andrew Turner’s partner and parliamentary assistant Carole Dennett is in doubt following an independent inquiry into MPs’ expenses.

Ms Dennett, who is paid £19,000 a year, could be forced to quit if parliament pursues the reported recommendations of Sir Christopher Kelly, due to be officially published next week.

Leaks following briefings to parliamentary leaders this week suggested Sir Christopher would call for rules to stop MPs employing relatives.

Mr Turner said: "It is difficult to comment meaningfully on Sir Christopher Kelly’s proposals as his report has not yet been published. My view is MPs will have to abide by his decisions, however difficult they may be for us personally, as a step on the way to restoring trust in our parliamentary democracy."

He said it was no secret his partner, Carole, was employed in his office and many Islanders had benefited from her work.

Describing her knowledge of the parliamentary system as extremely useful, he said: "I have always understood the sensitivities around Carole’s employment. She has waived her right to privacy about her salary, which is £19,000.

"For the past eight years she has worked much longer hours than those set out in her contract, she frequently works evenings and weekends and she works either in Westminister or on the Island to match my requirements.

"Many people will understand it would be extremely difficult to find someone who could offer me the same expertise, dedication and flexibility at a similar salary."

Reporter: ross.findon@iwcp.co.uk

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