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Karen Bradley's husband has Westminster 'spouse pass'

By Staff Reporter

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley has been named as one of a number of senior parliamentarians whose spouses have been given special access passes into Westminster facilities.

Some of the MPs' spouses are lobbyists or business people who have campaigned to influence government policy, according to a report in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph.

The Secretary of State's husband, Neil, is listed in the European Commission's register of lobbyists as "group manager government affairs" at International Airlines Group, the owners of British Airways, the newspaper reported.

The special "spouse passes" give access to Parliament's restaurants and bars, and permit up to six guests to accompany the holders.

They are designed to help parliamentarians see their children and spouses with ease.

A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, who has been MP for Staffordshire Moorlands since the 2010 general election, told the Belfast Telegraph that Mr Bradley never used his spouse pass for business visits to the Houses of Parliament.

"When attending professional meetings, he enters the House the same way as any member of the public," she said.

The spokeswoman said all MPs were entitled to 'spouse passes', but could not say whether this included abstentionist MPs who had not taken up their seats.

Among the other senior parliamentarians whose spouses have been involved in advocacy and policy influencing are Sir Kevin Barron, the chairman of the Commons standards watchdog, and Crime Minister Victoria Atkins.

Sir Kevin's wife, Lady Deane-Barron, works on 'advocacy' with the YMCA, the Telegraph reported, while Ms Atkins is married to Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar, and who campaigned against the introduction of a tax on fizzy drinks.

Ms Atkins told the Daily Telegraph: "My husband has never used the pass for work."

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