June 19, 2012

Dorries and the £40K daughter

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 11:26 am

The press and numerous blogs have seemingly caught onto the story that the Mid Bedfordshire MP, Nadine Dorries, is paying her daughter £40K per annum as an “office manager”.

A note of caution here straight away – it seems as though what is actually happening is that she is paying her daughter at this rate “pro rata”. In leyman’s terms, she works out what hourly rate someone would be paid to make up the “upto” £40K salary in the role, and then pays her daughter at that hourly rate… There is even some doubt as to whether the £40K figure is correct – some are claiming it might be as low as £35K.

Is this a problem? Well that all depends…

I’m perhaps in the minority in the blogosphere in that I don’t particularly have a problem with MPs employing relatives in their offices, so long as a number of conditions are met.

Are they able to fulfil the function?

I would have thought that, if the role is genuinely for an office manager, then the role is required throughout the year. It seems odd that Ms. Dorries should appoint someone who is only capable of working when her studies allow.

Are they competent?

I don’t know what Phillipa is like at general office management, but when it comes to processing Freedom of Information requests (like the one I sent), I am somewhat less than impressed. I met an incorrect assertion that my request was not made in the proper format, and only on quoting the law directly at her did I receive an explaination that “she had been reliably informed” that there was a problem. There wasn’t, as she had to eventually concede.

I’m not legally trained – and Phillipa is apparently a law student. You would think that she would check the leglislation before attempting to use it to justify her decision to try to evade my request made under the Freedom Of Information Act.

No discrimination

The position should be advertised, and the relative should have had to emerge as the best canidate from those who apply for the role. I simply do not know if this happened in this case, but if it didn’t, then I would say we have a problem. I would expect the MP to retain evidence that a fair selection process had been followed.

Salary should be at the going rate for the job they do

I do not see why the public purse should suffer an unreasonable burden, so I expect the relative’s salary to be comparable to that which might be offered to a non-relative in the role. I have to say here, I do consider £40K for an office manager to be extremely generous – but then of course we’re not privy to precisely what she does. It’s possible, though unlikely, that such a figure could be justified…

So? Should Phillipa really be in the role? Well, we don’t know – we don’t know what the role entails, and we don’t know exactly what she has been paid. The point is however that we SHOULD know. Arrangements like this should be whiter than white – with the MP more than happy to discuss the full details of the case. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, and that is very troubling indeed…



  1. Although I don’t disagree with your sentiments, it is important to note that one version of the truth being pushed is that the payment is in a bracket up to £40K (or £39,999). So it might not be as close to £40k as critics suspect. If this was the case though, this would be expected to be declared at the first possible opportunity which raises suspicions. The Mail reported that it fell within the category £35-39k. If this is the case then it really narrows the focus of where the salary actually lies.

    As for the selection process – shouldn’t this be available under the FOI?

    Comment by Martin Joseph — June 19, 2012 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

    • Hi Martin,

      I’ve updated my article in light of your comments…

      As for the selection process, I might apply and ask for it – but the truth is I don’t have as much free time to dedicate to Dorries at the moment as I used to have… What with the #TwitterJokeTrial hearing and a girlfriend who likes to see me every now and then, Dorries has slipped down the tables.

      Still, I guess this is what the WhatDoTheyKnow website is there for…

      Comment by madaxeman — June 20, 2012 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  2. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more on this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but generally folks don’t speak about such topics.

    To the next! Cheers!!

    Comment by Wilson — July 22, 2013 @ 7:05 am | Reply

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