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MEPs' Allowances and Transparency

As an MEP, I receive a salary of 84,000. For my first ten years in the parliament, I received the same salary as a Westminster MP, but from July 2009 we switched to a common "Members' Statute" under which MEPs from all member-states are paid the same. The Sterling value of my salary varies with the exchange rate, but is currently slightly higher than a Westminster MP's salary.

Brussels staff includes two full-time research assistants which are paid directly by the European Parliament, including all approved expenses they incur such as monthly travel to and from Strasbourg. .

The only relative I employ is my wife. She handles special projects for me, mostly of a rural/countryside nature, and liaises with local interest groups, including those engaged in opposing the inappropriate sitting of wind farms in the region. Why use a family member for this work? There are clear benefits in doing so. She is competent; she is contactable at all hours. She knows the region and the people, and is familiar with my views on the issues.

During my first term 1999/2004 I employed my wife as part-time UK diary secretary. She was remunerated on an arm's length basis, not on preferential terms. Currently she is responsible for handling my extensive travel arrangements, not the least of which include a weekly flight between Brussels and the East Midlands.

In addition to staff allowances, I am entitled to a range of other expenses to support my work as a parliamentarian. These allowances are drawn, and dispersed, precisely in line with parliamentary rules.