Mystery poster pokes fun at South Shields MP employing her husband
The protest poster was put up at Mrs Lewell-Buck’s office in Westoe Road, South Shields, on Sunday.
It read: “Jobs? Apply here 25k, no interview, jobs yours, only family need apply. Contact [email protected]”
The poster, which was spotted by landlord Colin Campbell, follows revelations that Mrs Lewell-Buck has employed her husband Simon Buck as a part-time parliamentary assistant, with suggestions he is on a salary of £24,000 a year.
While MPs are allowed to employ one ‘connected member’ there have been calls for her to reveal Mr Buck’s exact salary and whether the job was advertised at one of the annual fairs she runs.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has said a breakdown of MP’s employees’ wage bands for the 2015/16 financial year won’t be available until September.
Mrs Lewell-Buck has, so far, declined to comment on the questions but has said the wage was not £24,000 and that: “Simon has worked in the office since late last year and correct protocol was followed.”
When contacted about the poster yesterday, a spokesman at her office said: “Emma probably won’t want to comment on this.”
Mr Campbell came across the poster early on Sunday morning.
He said: “I’d just been to fill the car up and spotted it on the window. I thought it was a closure notice so went back for a closer look to see what it said.
“Then I realised it was a poster having a pop over the MP employing her husband. The MP seems to be very tight-lipped about whether the job was advertised and what the wage is.
“It’s no wonder some constituents are thinking it’s a bit hypocritical organising jobs fairs but not appearing to use them yourself for jobs in your own office.
“I don’t understand why there’s so much secrecy around it.”
Last month Coun Jeff Milburn also penned an open letter to the MP, asking if the role was advertised.
He said a number of people had been in touch with him regarding a lack of transparency on the issue
Coun Milburn said: “I am aware that it is not uncommon for MPs to employ a family member, but only if they are the best person for the position, something that can only be established by advertising the job properly and interviewing other candidates.
“I have to wonder, did Mrs Lewell-Buck advertise the position?
“Members of all parties want an answer to that.”