What do MPs do to justify all their cash?
This morning Ermintrude made a point that is worth its own thread – what is it that MPs do to justify all the cash that they get.
Expressing the hope that a realistic appraisal of an MPs role should come out of this mess he wrote: “What bugs me is the frequent suggestion that their jobs are equivalent to other professional like headteachers or GPs. Theyâ€™re not.”
This reminds me of one of my all-time favourite contributions to PB. A couple of years ago a new party was set up called “Save Bedford Hospital” and looked ready to eat into Labour’s vote in this marginal constituency. The consultant who was running it got a lot of media attention and after one such appearance Roger came up with the brilliant damning observation – “..well after hearing XXXX I’d much prefer to have him as my MP than my doctor”.
One of the hard things in assessing an MPs role is that much of their time is taken with party political matters or electioneering – things that shouldn’t be paid for.
On how they vote there’s a whole apparatus is each parliamentary group thinking that one through and from the whips’ perspective their function is to do as they are told.
What about case-work? I’m sure all MPs receive a lot of correspondence and quite a few requests from constituents asking for help over one thing or another. But how big a burden is this and how much of it is really directed to the party political side of their work?
And if case-work was so burdensome how come that well in excess of 100 MPs are able to take on paid extra work as ministers of one sort or another?
The big test would be whether the “quality of MPs”, however you want to measure that, is affected by how much cash is thrown at them? Well there does not seem to be a shortage of people wanting to change places with them.
My solution on the second home issue is to allow the equivalent cost of a maximum of four nights a week at the Days Inn Westminster during the period when the house is sitting. A perfectly good hotel and maybe we could add on a fiver a night for the odd “premium” movie.
So what do you think – how much should an MP get paid? With the latest increase announced yesterday it will be just under Â£65,000 a year. Is that too high or too low? Let’s see what the PB community thinks.