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Hain's mother is paid pounds 5, 400 for part-time work; MP has hit back at criticism.

Byline: Phillip Nifield Political & Business Editor

THE 80-year-oldmother of formerWelsh Secretary Peter Hain ispicking uppounds 5,400 a year from the taxpayers' purse as his part-time secretary, it has been revealed.

Adelaine Hain has worked for the Neath MP at the Commons since 1991 but Mr Hain has defended the practice saying itwaswrong tocriticiseMPswho took on family members legitimately.

Mr Hain, who resigned from the Cabinet last month in a deputy leadership donations row, said: "I've never hidden anything. She works really hard, and that's that. She's been here since 1991 and everybody knows about it."

Mrs Hain provides "part-time secretarial assistance and cover for my offices", he explained Leaders of all three parties have told their MPs to make clear if they employ members of their families in the wake of the expenses row involving Conservative MP Derek Conway.

Mr Hain said: "My mother has been a hard-working supporter of my political duties ever since I was first elected to Parliament in April 1991.

"She helped set up my office in the House, and for a time didn't have a proper desk to work from. She has been a very useful member of my team, as anyone who has worked in my private office over the years would confirm.My situation is entirely different from the Derek Conway business.

"You get a loyalty and a dedication from members of your family which is absolute. Unless people are making points that support age discrimination - and that is unlawful - there is no reason why my mother should not be employed.

The fact is, she has probably, if anything, been underpaid. I deeply resent the fact that she is being unfairly pilloried."

phillip.nifield@mediawales.co.uk Under Parliamentary rules, there is no bar on employing relatives and many MPs employ their spouses or children.

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FAMILY Peter Hain and his mum Adelaine.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 4, 2008
Words:312
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