I’ve seen quite a lot of calls for MPs to be banned from having a second job over the last few days.
And I’m sympathetic to a lot of it, and would be strongly opposed to any parliamentary representative of mine not working hard to represent the constituency, or deal with issues they said they would work on if elected.
But what actually is a second job? If we are to ban them, we need to come up with some kind of agreed definition. And I’m not sure I know what one is.
Does an MP have a second job if they are a doctor during periods of Parliamentary recess? How about if said MP has no family/child care responsibilities and writes articles or a book during late evenings, having been in Parliament or working on either parliamentary or constituency business for 10 hours or so that day?
Does an MP have a ‘second job’ if they are a Minister? In many ways, surely this is worse than having an outside part time job that takes place during recess, as said MP is no longer able to vote against the Government party line, as well as having a (very) significant portion of their working time taken up with Government business rather than constituency business.
While there clearly are examples of MPs who take the mick – before we can talk about banning anything, we need a much clear idea of the shades of grey that might or might not be considered acceptable.