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Ilford North MP Lee Scott defends employing wife as secretary
MP Lee Scott has again defended his decision to employ his wife following the latest publication of MPs expenses.
Figures released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) suggest Mr Scott paid his wife Estelle between £30,000 and £35,000 in the last financial year to be his secretary.
The Conservative representative for Ilford North, which includes wards in Wanstead and Woodford, said he had always been open about the arrangement and also said the figure was wrong.
Mr Scott said his wife is paid £29,000 in line with IPSA recommendations.
He told the Guardian: "My wife has always worked for me and I made that clear even before I was elected.
"I will always abide by the rules and I'm always upfront about everything. I don't claim for expenses and I don't have a second home."
Groups including the Taxpayers Alliance have criticised the payments and demanded greater openness about MPs employing relatives.
And in 2009 the Committee on Standards in Public Life recommended that MPs be banned from hiring spouses, but the proposals never became law.
But Mr Scott said he struggle to understand critics' concerns about the practice.
He added: "Once one of my political opponents put it on an election leaflet but I've never had any complaints from constituents about it.
"My wife does a great job and works very long hours, including evenings and weekends.
"I wouldn't get much of a chance to see her otherwise so it's also important for family life."
The IPSA figures also revealed that Mr Scott spent just over £10,000 on office costs and a total of £114,000 employing staff during 2012/13.
He claimed nothing for travel, food or accommodation.
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