Gainsborough: Prospective MP candidate has called for a ban on MPs having a second job

PIC BY DAVID NEW-DAVID PRESCOTT TALKS TO THE RESIDENTS OF GAINSBOROUGH AND MARKET RASEN TOWNS.
PIC BY DAVID NEW-DAVID PRESCOTT TALKS TO THE RESIDENTS OF GAINSBOROUGH AND MARKET RASEN TOWNS.

Labour PPC for Gainsborough David Prescott has demanded all MPs to be banned from having second jobs or paid directorships.

He added his voice to party leader Ed Miliband who has written to the prime minister calling likewise with a cap on MPs’ outside earnings.

It follows MPs Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind being embroiled in a ‘cash for access’ scandal, with Sir Malcolm saying it is “unrealistic” for MPs to live on a £67,000 a year salary.

The Labour PPC quotes publicly-available Parliamentary records which show Gainsborough MP, Sir Edward Leigh, since May 2010, has earned at least £229,030 from second jobs on top of his £67,000 a year salary.

This includes £6,250 a month for 30-hours work as a non-executive director of Anglo-Arab Bank.

Sir Edward is also listed as being a paid barrister.

Mr Prescott said: “I’ve always believed we should have full-time MPs with no outside paid interests.”

“People hate the idea of their elected Member of Parliament making money from second jobs and directorships.”

“Sir Malcolm is reported to have told undercover reporters that he saw himself as self-employed and that he had a lot of ‘free time’.”

“I think that’s an enormous insult, not only to his constituents but to the public expecting him to scrutinise our security services.”

“I believe being an MP is a full-time job.”

“There’s a huge amount of work to be done across the Gainsborough constituency from transport, to jobs, housing and health.”

“That’s why if elected I’ve pledged not to take a second job and to campaign for other MPs to be banned from having them.”

“MPs are due to get a 10 per cent pay rise. They shouldn’t receive a penny of it until they commit to drop any second jobs.”

“If elected I’d work full-time to create jobs for other people.”

“I’d also employ local staff, not family members, to run my office and offer a living wage internship to a local young person. I’m here to give the constituency a Fresh Start by putting the people first not myself.”

However, local UKIP candidate John Saxon has branded Labour’s pre-election promise as an ill-thought out “knee-jerk” reaction to the controversy.

He said: “The consequence of such an action may well, in the long run, deprive us of many experienced MPs who have served the country and would otherwise not continue to do so.”

However, Mr Saxon believes outside roles must be scrutinised and approved to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

He added: “Furthermore, MPs should also be discouraged from charging large fees for carrying out their role as an MP.”

“But writing books or newspaper columns could be seen as a “valid use of ones talents.”

Sir Edward said: “It’s important that MPs understand the real world and have had some life outside politics.”

“I’ve one of the highest speaking records in the Commons – higher than any other MP in the area – so in my case there hasn’t been any problem.”