Clause 1 - Payment of maternity allowance: Ministerial office

Part of Ministerial and other Maternal Allowances Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 11th February 2021.

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Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Chair, Public Accounts Committee 3:30 pm, 11th February 2021

My hon. Friend will know that a Minister is on the payroll of their Department, so in that sense they are more of an employee. There is a really interesting issue here that we will need to consider carefully, and it is that MPs are not employees. We have a payroll, but we are not employees; we are obviously answerable to our constituents. That is one of the fundamental differences. For my part, when I was on maternity leave, I had a clear plan and support. Like my hon. Friend, I asked for some cover—some extra money for my staff—but it was not possible. There are certain things that an MP does that cannot be replicated by anybody else, as we know. This has obviously been well rehearsed. This is a complex area, and she is making some interesting points.