The Chief Inspector of Probation has defended taking on a second job, appearing to suggest she can carry out both roles because she does not have young children.
It was announced earlier this year that Dame Glenys Stacey would be leading a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) review into farm inspection.
Appearing before the Justice Committee, she was pressed by MPs on her ability to meet the demands of her full-time £140,000-a-year job alongside her Defra role.
Dame Glenys revealed she is putting her probation work first, but has had to “make some adjustments”, admitting she told Defra she should would give up up to two days a week to accommodate the demands of the review.
“So when the needs arise, for example should I be appearing at a select committee, then I may be doing extra work at the weekends.”
She revealed that balancing both positions does sometimes leave her working long days – despite stepping down from a number of other roles, including her local church council.
Dame Glenys added: “But my husband is enjoying the prospect of learning how to cook, so there are some hidden benefits for me at least.”
She also stressed she “considered the matter carefully and the practicalities” before accepting the second job, and that “Secretaries of State have agreed it is an appropriate arrangement”.
Mr Neill grilled Dame Glenys on whether she understood how “profoundly unsatisfactory” the committee regarded her answers, which she admitted she could see.
“I am shocked at what I have just heard,” he added. “At the moment we are utterly unconvinced by what you have said.”
Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge Ellie Reeves hit back at the comments made by Dame Glenys about not being a younger woman with possible family commitments.
“As a Member of Parliament and a mother of a three-year-old, and as someone that has spent a large part of their career representing women in relation to maternity discrimination, I think that gives very much the wrong message,” she said.
“I think that those comments should very much be reflected upon, they are incredibly unhelpful.”