Two Liberal Democrat Cabinet ministers have spoken of their pride at employing foreign staff at home, in an effective challenge to Tory colleagues to come clean on their domestic arrangements.
Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change secretary, said he had a Hungarian au pair, while Vince Cable, the Business secretary, said he had a Polish cleaner.
The willingness of Mr Davey and Mr Cable to disclose details of their help at home contrasts with the vast majority of Conservative ministers, who have declined to say if they employed a foreign cleaner or nanny.
Mr Davey told The Telegraph: “Having myself worked in France, Sweden, Belgium and Taiwan and knowing how many hundreds of thousands of British people work and live abroad, I am pleased that the UK allows people from other countries to work here as it would be grossly hypocritical to do otherwise.”
Mr Cable added: “I have a multinational family and have employed British and foreign staff throughout my working life. I have and always will defend the right of people from the EU to come to the UK, work hard and pay their taxes.”
Earlier this week, Theresa May defended James Brokenshire, her under-fire immigration minister, following his criticism of a “wealthy metropolitan elite” who use immigrants to provide “cheap labour”.
Mr Brokenshire said last week that the wealthy were the main winners of Britain’s openness to overseas labour as they had to pay less for tradesmen and services. Ordinary workers, whose wages had stagnated, had lost out.
The comments led to questions being raised about Cabinet members’ use of foreign domestic help, including Prime Minister David Cameron in his Downing Street flat, much to the frustration of his advisers.
The Telegraph contacted scores of Tory ministers this week to ask if they employed foreign help at home. Only a handful replied.
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I can hardly believe these LibDem (left-wing) pols are bragging about being able to afford to hire domestic staff! Don’t they know that is only an option for the well-to-do? I guess they do not care how many poor indigenous Brits they offend: they are going for the immigrant vote.