Labour’s candidate for the Louth and Horncastle seat at the election has challenged his rival candidates to match his ‘no second jobs’ pledge.
The recent ‘cash for access’ scandal in Westminster has led to renewed criticism over MPs carrying out additional paid work whilst serving their constituents.
If an MP is truly committed to their constituency, they should not divide their time between the honour of representing Louth and Horncastle and personal enrichmentMatthew Brown
At last week’s Prime Minister Questions, current local MP Sir Peter Tapsell told Prime Minister David Cameron: “I fear that if Members of the House are not allowed a second job, membership of it will soon be confined to the inheritors of substantial fortune or to those with rich spouses, or to obsessive crackpots or those who are unemployable anywhere else.”
Meanwhile, in the local fight for the Louth and Horncastle seat at the upcoming general election, Labour candidate Matthew Brown said: “I am pledging that I will not take any paid work outside my role as MP for Louth and Horncastle should I win the election.
“If an MP is truly committed to their constituency, they should not divide their time between the honour of representing Louth and Horncastle and personal enrichment.”
Conservative candidate Victoria Atkins responded: “I am the only parliamentary candidate to have committed myself full-time to Louth and Horncastle for more than six months before the general election.
“When I was selected last year, I pledged to finish my final cases as a criminal barrister and then get to work as the Conservative candidate.
“Since October 2014, I have been working full time for Louth and Horncastle, listening to residents, identifying the issues that are important to people and setting priorities for the constituency.
“If I am fortunate enough to be elected on May 7, I will continue to serve the constituency full time.”
Romy Rayner (Greens), Peter Hill (Monster Raving Loony) and Lisa Gabriel (Lib Dems) all matched the pledge.
Ms Gabriel added: “In my opinion, being an MP should be a full time job not a part time hobby. Having a second job can represent a serious drain on constituency time even if there is no conflict of interest.”
UKIP’s Colin Mair responded to say it depends on what is meant by ‘second jobs’.
Mr Mair continued: “I have a lifetimes work behind me and am in a very unique position with respect to my professional and internationally recognised expertise as a process engineer. At times a company will approach me and ask for help with a new process or if they have problems with an existing process. These companies are manufacturers and their success means they stay successful and continue to employ many people.
“As a County Councillor, the paid allowance is quite modest and the bit of extra work I do keeps my head above water financially. Luckily I am not a full time or even a part time employee, and can organise my time to suit all the responsibilities I have.”
Mr Mair went on to say that he has shares in a company that processes seaweed, and added: “I fully acknowledge this work as a declaration of interest, and never use my position as a councillor to promote the interests of the seaweed company. I have stopped taking a salary from the seaweed company but is my position as a major shareholder considered as a job?”
“The whole area of secondary interests is very complex, and we do need to look vigorously at increased control.”
He added that the public are right to demand their MP gives full time attention to the job they are being paid to do, but slammed Mr Brown and said: “It is easy to try and make political capital by pledging certain simplistic promises and demanding that all opponents make the same pledge.”
Mr Mair added: “There is one thing I do pledge, and that is to continue to do my best for the community, a community that I live and work for now.”