BOLTON’S MPs believe they should not be prevented from employing their family members.

It was revealed yesterday that one in five MPs — including Bolton North East’s Sir David Crausby and Bolton South East’s Yasmin Qureshi — continue to employ a relative, despite newly-elected members being banned from doing so.

Electoral reform campaigners now say that a firm date should be set for an end to the practice, but MPs have hit back and say that their family members provide constituents with value for money.

Sir David employs his wife, Enid, as his office manager.

He said: “From a personal point of view, MPs and the public get value from having relatives employed.

“I accept that the public perception might not look at it that way, but the truth is that members of Parliament get 24/7 support and services from a member of their family. The problem is that it the system has been abused before, but I have never accepted on principle that anybody should be punished for the actions of the few. That is what is happening here.”

The current salary range for an MP’s office manager outside London is between £26,000 and £38,617.

Ms Qureshi has employed her husband, Nadeem Ashraf, as a caseworker and administrative officer since 2015. He earns £19,800.

She said: “The way I look at it is that if the job is being done properly and the person is trustworthy, it shouldn’t matter if they are a relative.

“I would not agree with any calls to sack any MPs’ members of staff who are relatives.

“As an MP you need people who are able to work and be with you on evenings and weekends.

“My husband is paid the same salary as three other members of staff at the same level as him. He is important to me in terms of the work he does and he puts in a lot of hours.”

When the ban on new MPs hiring relatives was announced March, the parliamentary watchdog, Ipsa, said it was ‘out of step’ with modern employment practices.

Chris Green, MP for Bolton West, does not employ any family members in his office, but believes that others should not be prevented from doing so.

He said: “If a family member is doing a good job serving constituents then it is perfectly reasonable to employ them.

“There are businesses and organisations up and down the country that employ family members and it is very practical to do so as an MP because of the pressures of the job.

“A system forcing MPs to sack any family members who work for them is the wrong way to go about solving the problem.”