A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The news that Dartford MP Howard Stoate is standing down because he thinks he would have to give up his role as a GP under new rules about second jobs is desperately sad.

It must have been in the public interest to have Dr Stoate's up-to-date experience as a serving GP contributed to health debates in the House.

Surely the people who framed the new rules didn't intend them to have this perverse impact?
This isn't someone cashing-in on being an MP with lucrative consultancies, it's someone combining public office with frontline delivery of public services.


Blogger Democritus said...

Have to say this measure is ridiculous. Obviously the intention is to clobber the Tory MPs who sit on boards of directors and so forth, but it will also penalise the lawyers and GPs etc on all sides. Moreover though the decision about whether an MP having a second job is acceptable or not is one that should be up to her/his electorate. If, say, Ken Clarke's constituents are aware of the work he does for British American tobacco or whoever and still want him as their MP, then that should be their choice to decide. This legislation is a partisan shambles and will for certain be one of the first things Cameron repeals if he indeed becomes PM next year.

9:41 pm, July 29, 2009

Anonymous Naughtius Maximus said...

How the hell can you be a GP and a MP at the same time? Not possible. This man needs to choose between the two and give up £100,000 per year either way

9:51 pm, July 29, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trouble is you can't maintain your status as a fellow of the royal college of general practitioners if you don't actually practice for, i think, at least one day per month.

If his constituents had a problem with this, then presumably they would have voted him out of the MP job.

10:32 pm, July 29, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

How can you be an MP and a Practitioner, both are really demanding and I would have thought its either one or the other!

NLP has had 12 years to sort this out but in a panic its rushed through and the Tories will still sit in 2 or 3 jobs.

10:39 pm, July 29, 2009

Blogger Democritus said...

Howard Stoate's electorate have had multiple chances to 'sort it out' and have chosen to retain Dr Stoate. It is an affront to democracy to deny them the option.

10:50 pm, July 29, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Dear friends

I'm supporting a campaign to protect the green jobs at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.


600 people could be made redundant if the factory closes, but the government still has the power to protect these jobs like it has protected jobs in the banking and car industries. Please sign the petition to call on Ed Miliband to step in to save the factory.


Please forward to all your contacts

There is to be a Rally in support of RMT Vestas Workers and the Factory Occupation at 1 PM Saturday 1 August to be held in St Thomas Square, Newport,
Isle of Wight. Please bring Banners and as many people as you can.

An Injury to One is an injury to all

11:08 pm, July 29, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a very fair point Luke - but a problem which affects far more people is the continuation of political restriction in local government brought in by Thatcher - which stops people politically active in one authority being employed in a completely separate one.

That effectively disenfranchises thousands.

1:09 am, July 30, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might be being cynical, but I rather suspect that this has a great deal to do with the fact that Stoate is expecting to lose as he's defending a majority of about 800 votes.

11:30 am, July 30, 2009

Anonymous anonymouse said...

Nah! Let's just see an outright ban on PR men and other crooked practitioners of the dark arts from getting within a mile of our Parliament and local government buildings!

12:13 pm, July 30, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Personally I think MPs should have second jobs. It keeps them in touch with what is going off in the real world. As long as it is clearly declared to their constituents in all their media then I can't see the problem.

How do we expect MPS who were once GPS to make decisions on health matters if they no longer work in that field. It goes the same for industry and law.

It makes sense to me to have a balanced parliament. A parliament that has MPs from all parts of life and job backgrounds.

MPs are allowed to employ a host of support staff to deal with the day to day running of office. They are not required to be in parliament every day and for this reason I can see no reason why they couldn't continue as a doctor. Hard work yes, but thats the cost of two jobs

I think there are far worse practices around parliament that need to be resolved. Lobbying for example and donations...all these actually hinder democracy.

If MPs can't do second jobs then parliament will lose a lot of good MPS and collect a load of useless career politicians.

7:47 am, August 01, 2009

Blogger Thatsnews said...

Oh, dear.

This is clearly what I call a "DOH!" law.

This is when a law is enacted rashly and when -apparently unforeseen negative consequences- occur, the people behind the law shout: DOH! I never thought of that!"

4:00 am, August 02, 2009

Blogger Steve Horgan said...

The law was enacted as a vindictive measure against Conservative MPs. Many of them have professions where they can do limited amounts of work while being an MP. Relatively few Labour MPs have this sort of background, so it was considered a nice move by the PLP. The thing is that experience from the world of work plays into the role of an elected politician. There is the meeting of different people outside of the Westminster bubble, the acquisition of skills that would be useful in the more formal parts of an MP's job and so on.

I manage to combine working full-time is a pretty responsible job while being the Deputy Leader of a Council. All you have to do is work a bit harder. Our MPs are certainly capable of doing that.

8:38 pm, August 02, 2009

Blogger opus said...

Am I missing something but surely the Prime Minister has two jobs -
1. MP for his constituency
2. Prime Minister

Likewise any minister or secretary of state. I would say that being Prime Minister takes up much more time than sitting on the board of a few companies for a few days a year.
If the plan is to kick all ministers out of the House of Commons then that may not be a bad thing (as in the US) but has some far reaching constitutional implications ..to put it mildly.

4:40 pm, August 03, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

"Relatively few Labour MPs have this sort of background, so it was considered a nice move by the PLP."

Probably true about 30 years ago...not these days.

Please take a drive past Geoff Hoon house and I think you will find it's the biggest in the village. He didn't get that from being an MP. Lots of Labour MPs sit on boards of directors etc etc.

9:27 pm, August 03, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Actually, its Cameron who has made it clear that he wants his MP's who wish to be in government to be full time.

2:46 am, August 04, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

I don't want career politicians. I want politicians to have had real jobs and if possible stay in touch by working in the real world.

If you want to be a sports minister then you should have been involved in sport, the same should apply to health, defence etc etc.

I find it very odd that key cabinet members very little experience in their role. Brown is a historian and look at the mess he has created....he might be brainy but he certainly has no experience on running the country.

8:48 pm, August 08, 2009


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