TWO local MPs, who might have to make their wives redundant, have dismissed reports suggesting “wife swapping” as a way to get around a possible ban on employing family members.

An investigation being conducted by Sir Christopher Kelly, who chairs the Committee on Standards in Public Life, could lead to a ban on MPs employing family members.

But as a way around the problem, wives, husbands and other relatives of some of the 200 MPs who employ members of their family are planning to apply for jobs with other MPs.

Christchurch MP Chris Chope said: “Frankly, this proposal trivialises the whole issue. My wife does not want to work for anyone else and I do not want to employ anyone else.”

New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne, whose wife Moira works for him, said: “It is nonsense and I cannot see it happening. The whole advantage of having your wife or spouse work for you is that they can brief you on a Saturday night about a missed phone call or issue.

“You can’t do that with someone else’s wife.

“The whole business has been handed over to Sir Christopher Kelly, and whatever the outcome, we have to move with the times.”

Mr Swayne added: “My wife has been working for me for 10 years part-time and she has done a very good job. I don’t believe anyone else would do the work for the money I pay her or work the way she does.

“But if the cost of repairing the damage of the expenses scandal is this, then it is worth doing. Public confidence is much more valuable.”

Sir Christopher’s committee is also expected to put a stop to MPs claiming for mortgages on their second homes.