An MP is a Full Time Job

An MP's sole source of income shall be from their job as MP.  An MP shall not have a second job, nor do independent work such as consulting, lobbying, etc...  This proposal is even more relevent today in light of the Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind incidents revealed recently.  The concern here is an MP "selling" or "renting" their influence to achieve a result that may not be available for another constituent who cannot pay their "fee". 

edited on Feb 23, 2015 by Jake Wellman

John Z Apr 6, 2015

I would phrase this as follows:  "The sole source of income for a Member of Parliament shall be from their job as a Member of Parliament;  any other source of non-de minimis income shall be forbidden by a criminal statute to be enacted by Parliament". 

I have the provision for de minimis income to factor minimal income from sources to include (but not limited to) interest and dividends from investments.  I also want to make any violation of this provision to be criminal.

Any thoughts? 

Mark Cooke Apr 13, 2015

I think you need to consider some of the practical implications of this more fully:

There are two separate issues about MPs having other work - one is that they should be full time, so should only be able to do other work of a kind other full time employess do; the other is that MPs should be solely devoted to their constituents' interests, so should not have any conflicting roles.

These don't necessarily preclude other paid work - for example, writing books, journalism etc;  and some MPs want to maintain professional skills so they can return to their old jobs later, which does not seem unreasonable.  

So perhaps it would be better to emed the two principles I've suggested rather than having a blanket ban?

It is not reasonable to ban MPs from having investment income,   some of them can't help being rich before they become MPs!   The point here should be to ensure that they handle any conflicts properly.

 

 

 

Bob Stammers Apr 13, 2015

and you need to take account of the fact the some MPs will also be ministers. That begs the question: if a serving MP can fulfill his duties as an ordinary constituency MP AND his duties as a serving Minister of the Crown, what's the problem with mere MPs having two jobs?

John Z Apr 13, 2015

But only an MP can be a Cabinet Minister, thus having both assignments for those individuals goes hand-in-hand with their MP duties (at the discretion of the MP of course), which does not violate the terms or intent of my proposal.  

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 14, 2015

"But only an MP can be a Cabinet Minister"

Is this something the crowd has voted to put in the constitution? I can't see any reason why it should be the case.

John Z Apr 14, 2015

Until it changes, then we can only act based on the what exists today.

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 17, 2015

There are in fact two live proposals aimed at separating Executive and Parliament; requiring MPs to give up their seat if they're appointed as a Minister would be an effective way of ensuring that. So this proposal doesn't in fact need to make an exception for that.

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Fiona Condon Apr 13, 2015

Bob's point is valid though I have my doubts about how well ministers manage to do their job as constituency MPs. There should, however, be something that prevents MPs from recieving payment in return for representing particular interests.

Mark Cooke Apr 14, 2015

I think the answer is for the constitution to require a code of ethics for all elected representatives, and to state some of the key elements of the code,  leaving the detail to be agreed by Parliament.

This could then encompass quite a number of the ideas being raised.

If you agree,  what would key elements be?

I'd suggest:

No elected representative shall act in the interest of any person or organisation, including themself, rather than the interests of the people they represent. 

 

Fiona Condon Apr 14, 2015

Just a minor niggle - what happens if the person that the MP is acting in the interests just happens to be a consituent. I have tried to play with the words toget round this but without success. If you say "in the interests of all the people..." that means they can't act in the interest of a minority of constituents, which they might properly need to do.. The same applies to "most of the people". Maybe someone has got some better suggestions.

Mark Cooke Apr 14, 2015

OK

How about:

"All elected representatives shall act only in the interests of the public, including in particular their constituents,   and shall not use their position to promote any interest of themself, their family or any person paying them to do so."

 

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 18, 2015

I'd insert something like 'in the course of their duties', but otherwise that looks fine to me.

John Z Apr 18, 2015

I would not add "in the course of their duties", because then it opens the door to what is "'in the course of their duties" and what is not 'in the course of their duties", and what is not "in the course of their duties" would somehow be legally allowed;  I'd rather not entertain that distinction by politicians.  I would keep it open-ended to cover them 24-7.

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