Should MPs take a second job?

Southend Standard: James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East

IN these austere times of falling incomes and a spiralling cost of living, many people have had to take second jobs to help balance the family budget.

But when MPs, who are paid a basic salary of £66,396, take a second job, eyebrows are raised.

By most people’s standards, MPs have no financial need to take work on the side.

And, more significantly, does having additional paid employment affect their performance – or even pose a possible conflict of interest?

The issue came into the spotlight when the Echo revealed how south Essex MP James Duddridge works a day a month for a finance firm, for £500 a day.

This sparked criticism on the Echo website and, predictably, from political opponents.

Perhaps one explanation for the public outrage about politicians’ second jobs is the undefined workload of an MP.

They don’t clock in and out in the same way as many workers do and attendance at Parliament varies greatly between members.

On the other hand, it is far from a nine to five job. Debates and meetings often run into the evening and politicians continue to help constituents at weekends and during Parliamentary recess.

Mr Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, who worked in banking before standing for Parliament, sees nothing wrong with his £500-aday second job advising a Liverpool-based financial firm.

He reckons he spends 65 hours a week working as an MP. He says having a role outside the “Westminster bubble” helps him serve constituents better.

The Tory MP is also a director of charity the Grow Movement, which gives free business advice to African entrepreneurs.

He said: “Parliament is stronger when MPs have outside interests.

“One of the products of the expenses scandal was that people didn’t want career politicians.”

So do other south Essex MPs have second jobs?

Stephen Metcalfe, Tory MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, does not have a second job. However, he is a shareholder in Aysgarth Properties and Metloc Printers.

John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, draws on his experience as an investment banker to write a monthly column in the Financial Times’ Investors Chronicle magazine.

He donates the £500 fee to charity. He says the column only takes him an hour to write.

He said: “I do those at the weekend, so it doesn’t impact on my work as an MP.

“With the broader issue, I have little trouble with MPs undertaking second jobs.

“Being an MP isn’t a typical job. You can be in at 8am and still be in the House of Commons at 10pm.

“If we want Parliament to be representative and to rebut the criticism that MPs are out of touch, having MPs that are in touch with certain professions could be a good thing – provided the right balance is achieved and they remember their first duty is to their constituents.”

The Caravan Club pays David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, between £5,000 and £10,000 a year as a Parliamentary advisor, which involves speaking up for caravan owners in Parliament.

The club expects an estimated 100 hoursayear work in return, which at roughly one day a month.

He has regularly championed the Caravan Club’s cause in Parliament, for example calling for caravan sites to provided for the Olympic Games last year.

Mr Amess declares the Caravan Club interest in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and makes no secret of it in Parliament.

Some MPs get paid extra as they climb the promotion lader in Parliament.

Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois, who is seen as a political high-flyer, receives an extra £33,002 for his role as a defence minister.

Mr Duddridge gets £14,728 on top of his MP’s salary as chairman of the regulatory reform committee.

Rebecca Harris, Tory MP for Castle Point, who has no second job, has no problem with colleagues earning extra cash.

She said: “I don’t have a second job...apart from being a mother of a seven-year-old.

“I know a number of very good MPs who have second jobs and I think as long as their constituents feel they work hard to represent them and their area well and that they declare all they do, that it shouldn’t be a problem.

“Of course if you are a Government minister that is quite a major second job on top of their constituency work, but I have never heard of their constituencies suffering.

“A lot of hard working people have two jobs and I think if MPs do a few hours in business, law or medicine, for example, it could actually help them keep in better touch with how the politics they discuss and vote on in Westminster is reflected on the ground in those areas.”

Mr Amess and Mr Francois were unavailable for comment.

Comments (15)

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10:08am Thu 15 Aug 13

Barry Bas says...

Yes they should all take second jobs, as long as it is shelf stacker or cleaner, something to give them a taste of the real world.
Yes they should all take second jobs, as long as it is shelf stacker or cleaner, something to give them a taste of the real world. Barry Bas

10:45am Thu 15 Aug 13

Lordmountfield says...

Good luck to him.
Good luck to him. Lordmountfield

11:01am Thu 15 Aug 13

Russ13 says...

As per my last comment on this non-story, provided the additional jobs/roles don't interfere with their day job or present a conflict of interests then there is no issue.
As per my last comment on this non-story, provided the additional jobs/roles don't interfere with their day job or present a conflict of interests then there is no issue. Russ13

11:04am Thu 15 Aug 13

jayman says...

Tory politician; works in a rodent sanctuary whilst moonlighting for rentakill.
Tory politician; works in a rodent sanctuary whilst moonlighting for rentakill. jayman

11:08am Thu 15 Aug 13

Nebs says...

Perhaps if they were paid a decent salary for the responsibility they have, then they wouldn't have to do these second jobs. £66k just ain't enough. Halve the number of MP's and double the salary of those that are left.
Perhaps if they were paid a decent salary for the responsibility they have, then they wouldn't have to do these second jobs. £66k just ain't enough. Halve the number of MP's and double the salary of those that are left. Nebs

11:14am Thu 15 Aug 13

jayman says...

Nebs wrote:
Perhaps if they were paid a decent salary for the responsibility they have, then they wouldn't have to do these second jobs. £66k just ain't enough. Halve the number of MP's and double the salary of those that are left.
politicians are supposed to be

'of the people by the people for the people'

The average UK wage is £26.500 per annum. Politicians should stop being so precious. I Rest my case.
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: Perhaps if they were paid a decent salary for the responsibility they have, then they wouldn't have to do these second jobs. £66k just ain't enough. Halve the number of MP's and double the salary of those that are left.[/p][/quote]politicians are supposed to be 'of the people by the people for the people' The average UK wage is £26.500 per annum. Politicians should stop being so precious. I Rest my case. jayman

11:44am Thu 15 Aug 13

Russ13 says...

jayman wrote:
Nebs wrote: Perhaps if they were paid a decent salary for the responsibility they have, then they wouldn't have to do these second jobs. £66k just ain't enough. Halve the number of MP's and double the salary of those that are left.
politicians are supposed to be 'of the people by the people for the people' The average UK wage is £26.500 per annum. Politicians should stop being so precious. I Rest my case.
I'm going to make an assumption that you're gainfully employed.....

If someone offered you the opportunity to do some extra work where you'd earn maybe a week's money in one day would you turn it down?
[quote][p][bold]jayman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: Perhaps if they were paid a decent salary for the responsibility they have, then they wouldn't have to do these second jobs. £66k just ain't enough. Halve the number of MP's and double the salary of those that are left.[/p][/quote]politicians are supposed to be 'of the people by the people for the people' The average UK wage is £26.500 per annum. Politicians should stop being so precious. I Rest my case.[/p][/quote]I'm going to make an assumption that you're gainfully employed..... If someone offered you the opportunity to do some extra work where you'd earn maybe a week's money in one day would you turn it down? Russ13

12:22pm Thu 15 Aug 13

jolllyboy says...

No. Councillors should be available for their residents every day, thats what they are paid for. £500 a day ! that must be a distraction and what job will get priority ?
No. Councillors should be available for their residents every day, thats what they are paid for. £500 a day ! that must be a distraction and what job will get priority ? jolllyboy

12:39pm Thu 15 Aug 13

IHATETOWIE says...

I have no real issue with someone, even our beloved MPs, wishing to take a second job (take Senior Executives, for example, that hold Non-exec Directorships to give them a broader view of business) but what I utterly fail to comprehend is who on earth would want to employ Duddridge? Are they insane?! The guy is a joke who fails to warrant even a fraction of his MP's salary yet alone the full amount, plus expenses and more.

Perhaps if he could fulfil his current responsibilities of being a local MP and representing his constituents (does he even know what areas he represents?!) even to an 'average' standard, then I might be a little more sympathetic towards him. Please can the Conservatives field another candidate for Rochford & Southend East? Anyone would do as they can't do a worse job than Duffers...
I have no real issue with someone, even our beloved MPs, wishing to take a second job (take Senior Executives, for example, that hold Non-exec Directorships to give them a broader view of business) but what I utterly fail to comprehend is who on earth would want to employ Duddridge? Are they insane?! The guy is a joke who fails to warrant even a fraction of his MP's salary yet alone the full amount, plus expenses and more. Perhaps if he could fulfil his current responsibilities of being a local MP and representing his constituents (does he even know what areas he represents?!) even to an 'average' standard, then I might be a little more sympathetic towards him. Please can the Conservatives field another candidate for Rochford & Southend East? Anyone would do as they can't do a worse job than Duffers... IHATETOWIE

12:41pm Thu 15 Aug 13

Howard Chase says...

only if they shut up about people not getting jobs when they're being greedy and having two!
only if they shut up about people not getting jobs when they're being greedy and having two! Howard Chase

12:41pm Thu 15 Aug 13

Russ13 says...

jolllyboy wrote:
No. Councillors should be available for their residents every day, thats what they are paid for. £500 a day ! that must be a distraction and what job will get priority ?
OK, I'll try and take your point seriously.......

Why should councillors have that level of availability when pretty much no other profession do? (unless by choice).

How much would you expect to be paid to be available 24x7 to random members of the public?

What should an MP do if there are no members of the public to see them?
[quote][p][bold]jolllyboy[/bold] wrote: No. Councillors should be available for their residents every day, thats what they are paid for. £500 a day ! that must be a distraction and what job will get priority ?[/p][/quote]OK, I'll try and take your point seriously....... Why should councillors have that level of availability when pretty much no other profession do? (unless by choice). How much would you expect to be paid to be available 24x7 to random members of the public? What should an MP do if there are no members of the public to see them? Russ13

1:28pm Thu 15 Aug 13

emcee says...

Quote: "This sparked criticism on the Echo website and, predictably, from political opponents."
-
If this refers to the comments (to the original and almost identical article) the writer should surely have pointed out the majority were either in favour of Mr Duddridge's second job or couldn't care less either way. This really is a non-story and an attempt at the Echo to drag something out to try and keep up with the "big boys" in discrediting politicians.
I put it to David Trayner, the article's writer, that he is one of these political oponants he speaks of and that the Echo is looking more and more like a socialist rag by the day, for allowing such drivel to be published. How the Echo can consider that a few hours (if that) every month is worthy of this amount of journalistic (I use that term loosely) time, is beyond me?
Quote: "This sparked criticism on the Echo website and, predictably, from political opponents." - If this refers to the comments (to the original and almost identical article) the writer should surely have pointed out the majority were either in favour of Mr Duddridge's second job or couldn't care less either way. This really is a non-story and an attempt at the Echo to drag something out to try and keep up with the "big boys" in discrediting politicians. I put it to David Trayner, the article's writer, that he is one of these political oponants he speaks of and that the Echo is looking more and more like a socialist rag by the day, for allowing such drivel to be published. How the Echo can consider that a few hours (if that) every month is worthy of this amount of journalistic (I use that term loosely) time, is beyond me? emcee

3:15pm Thu 15 Aug 13

Shoebury_Cyclist says...

No they should not have second jobs.

How can they carry out their duties impartially as elected representatives if they have paid interests outside of parliament?
No they should not have second jobs. How can they carry out their duties impartially as elected representatives if they have paid interests outside of parliament? Shoebury_Cyclist

3:38pm Thu 15 Aug 13

Kim Gandy says...

Yeah how about a second job in one of the area's many understaffed, under resourced, over worked care homes for £6.50 an hour, doing personal care, mopping up mess, general skivvying and having to be constantly vigilant with eyes up your a** because you don't have enough colleagues.

Then they'd see how the other half live. Both residents and staff.
Yeah how about a second job in one of the area's many understaffed, under resourced, over worked care homes for £6.50 an hour, doing personal care, mopping up mess, general skivvying and having to be constantly vigilant with eyes up your a** because you don't have enough colleagues. Then they'd see how the other half live. Both residents and staff. Kim Gandy

8:39pm Thu 15 Aug 13

Nebs says...

Shoebury_Cyclist wrote:
No they should not have second jobs.

How can they carry out their duties impartially as elected representatives if they have paid interests outside of parliament?
They declare their interests, that is how.
[quote][p][bold]Shoebury_Cyclist[/bold] wrote: No they should not have second jobs. How can they carry out their duties impartially as elected representatives if they have paid interests outside of parliament?[/p][/quote]They declare their interests, that is how. Nebs

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