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Official employers of MPs and their staff
FOI062
Disclosure Date:1 Sep 2010
Categories: MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: None
Request
  1. In respect of the Employment Acts, who is the official ‘employer’ of Members of Parliament?
  2. In respect of the Employment Acts, who is the official ‘employer’ of staff engaged to assist Members of Parliament with their work?
Response

In respect of the Employment Acts, who is the official ‘employer’ of Members of Parliament?

Members of Parliament are not employed in any legal sense of the word.  MPs are elected to their position by the electorate after putting themselves up as a candidate.  The position of MP attracts a salary and expenses, paid by IPSA, which Members may access once they have been confirmed by the local Electoral Officer as having won the election.

When a Member is elected to Parliament it is for each Member to decide how to carry out that role most effectively.  As most MPs are members of a political party, the party often provide advice and guidance to new MPs, the House authorities also provide guidance on how to access services of the House.  There is no-one who can dictate to the MP what they should do.

Obviously there are things MPs are not allowed to do and standards by which they should abide - there is a Code of Conduct and the behaviour of Members is monitored by the Commissioner for Standards who makes recommendations to the Committee on Standards and Privileges.  Certain things can disqualify a Member from the House, these are listed in Schedule 1 of the House of Commons (Disqualification) Act 1975.

In respect of the Employment Acts, who is the official ‘employer’ of staff engaged to assist Members of Parliament with their work?

Members of Parliament are the official employers of any staff they engage to assist them with their parliamentary duties. Paragraphs 8.5 - 8.9 of the MPs’ Expenses Scheme (Second Edition) describes the conditions under which IPSA will pay Members’ staff.