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MP accused of worker 'hypocrisy'

A Labour MP has been accused of "hypocrisy" for taking on an unpaid worker in her office despite campaigning for a "living wage for all".

Lyn Brown is advertising for a "volunteer worker" to help staff her Commons office, with duties involving answering the telephone, dealing with constituents' inquiries and providing clerical support.

The West Ham MP's website states: "Since her election in 2005, Lyn has campaigned tirelessly for a living wage for all."

The living wage is a pay rate higher than the minimum wage which is meant to reflect the cost of living. In London it is currently £8.30.

Gus Baker from Intern Aware, which campaigns for fairer access to internships, said: "It's absolutely unacceptable for MPs to replace full-time, salaried workers with unpaid staff. That's the top and bottom line.

"But that Lyn Brown campaigns for the living wage - and has campaigned for the minimum wage in the past - makes this a double hypocrisy.

"What I want to ask her is - how would someone in her constituency from a low income background be able to take up that opportunity?

"The answer is they couldn't, so how can she possibly justify that? It is manifestly unfair."

Ms Brown denied she was replacing a full-time member of staff with an intern.

The West Ham MP said: "I would like to pay everyone who volunteers for me and who is ultimately seeking a wage. The reality is that I do not have the resources so to do."

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