Readers urge South Shields MP to answer questions over employing husband

MP Emma Lewell-Buck
MP Emma Lewell-Buck

Gazette readers are calling on the MP of South Shields to answer questions over her decision to employ her husband in her constituency office.

Emma Lewell-Buck revealed her husband Simon Buck has been working as her parliamentary assistant since the end of last year.

MPs are allowed to employ one ‘connected’ family member.

However, the Labour MP, who made unemployment one of her main campaign goals during her election in 2013, has refused to answer questions with regards to Mr Buck’s responsibilities and wage – which was rumoured to be £24,000.

The leader of the opposition in South Tyneside, Coun Jeff Milburn, has since issued an open letter urging Mrs Lewell-Buck to be more ‘transparent’ over her husband’s new role.

He also queried whether the job had been advertised – particularly at the annual jobs fair that Mrs Lewell-Buck runs.

The Independent Parliament Standards Authority (IPSA) has said a breakdown of wages won’t be available until September.

Last year, on March 31, Mrs Lewell-Buck put in a claim for £129,674, to cover the wages of her staff.

This year’s claim is likely to be submitted shortly.

Coun Milburn said: “I have to wonder, did Mrs Lewell-Buck advertise the position at her recent jobs fare?

He added: “Members of all parties want an answer to that.”

Meanwhile readers have taken to the Gazette’s Facebook and website to express their opinions.

Robert Ambrose said he could have done the job.

He typed: “She’s done nothing to help me. I’m an administrator and could have done his job, but I didn’t see it advertised.”

Peter Watt says he didn’t mind Mr Buck carrying out the role – as long as the job was advertised.

He commented: “I don’t mind her employing her husband as long as the job was advertised and he was the best out the lot.”

Angela Marie Maughan believes most people would do the same as Mrs Lewell-Buck.

She said: “Sorry, but I think anyone who had this opportunity would do the same.”

Nora Watson is wondering why the MP hasn’t answered the questions which have been asked.

She added: “Why doesn’t she just answer her critics?”