Claims that parliamentary staff were used in mayoral campaign being investigated by IPSA
In April, with the West Midlands mayoral election in full swing, Skwawkbox exclusively revealed that a former staffer had accused Labour’s candidate in the contest of misuse of parliamentary resources.
A whistleblower formerly employed by Labour MP and co-founder of right-wing pressure group Progress Liam Byrne said – and other local sources confirmed – that Byrne’s campaign was in such disarray that:
Basically half his team have left and the rest are his parliamentary staff and he’s making them work full-time on the mayoral election [which is] not parliamentary work.
The whistleblower also alleged that Byrne:
- owed the former staffer more than £11k in unpaid salary, leaving the employee working for a year below the legal minimum wage
- played arbitration service Acas and parliamentary standards body IPSA off against each other about the matter to avoid an employment tribunal deadline
- damaged at least one staff member’s mental health because of the stress of ‘containing’ the misuse of parliamentary resources
- told Acas that he had instructed IPSA to make the outstanding payment, but IPSA said no such instruction had been received and that they had been told the matter was with Acas
- made a partial payment in December but not in full, with the delay causing the deadline for tribunal action to be missed
- said in January that he now considers the staff’s overtime hours voluntary and therefore non-payable
As a result of the revelations, a complaint was made to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – and IPSA has now announced that it is investigating Byrne over the allegations:
The Compliance Officer for IPSA has opened an investigation to determine whether Mr Liam Byrne MP has been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses that should not have been allowed.
An investigation will be conducted into claims submitted under the following areas of the Scheme:
– Staffing and Office Costs in 2019/20
Read the full official notice of investigation here.
Mr Byrne has been contacted for comment.
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