MPs other jobs

I have always told my electors I do things as well as being an MP. I have kept my local electors informed through the local newspaper. Doubtless now new rules are being brought in for disclosure of earnings, the national media will run a series of stories, as if this were all new or news.

The only time I have had a second job which really stretched me as well as being an MP was when I was a Minister. Ministerial life makes many more demands on time than a non executive directorship, and often makes demands on time when Parliament is in session. No-one is suggesting in the national media that MPs should be banned from Minsiterial office, so in practise most agree you can do another job as well as being an MP.

For those who are interested, the Register of Members interest records 3 companies with which I am connected.

I am a member of the Advisory Board of Intelligent Engineering Holdings. No meetings are scheduled and no payments are being made.

I am non executive Chairman of Concentric PLC, now part of the Haldex Group. I chair a monthly divisional Board which takes the form of an international phone meeting, involving the USA, China, India, Germany and Sweden. I undertake special projects for the Group at mutually convenient times when Parliament is not meeting. The business is in automotive engineering.

I am Chairman of Evercore Pan Asset, an investment advisory business. In 2007 when I took it on I drew no salary, undertook light duties, and became a minority shareholder. Late in 2008 the founder CEO died suddenly. I have agreed a contract to offer the company strategic advice on global investment, and write a twice weekly economic and investment summary on the main world markets, concentrating on US/EU/China and India for them. I also chair the Board and attend meetings. The contract states that there are no formal hours of work and my Parliamentary duties take precedence.

I will make the necessary declarations of income as required when I receive payments from these two activities. The EPA contract allows me to pay the costs of the second home I need to undertake my Parliamentary duties without recourse to expenses.

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23 Comments

  1. Barry Sullivan
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I have no objection to second jobs as long as there is complete transparency and any salary is donated to charity or even to improving the salary of their staff. Whenever I contact my own MP, it is clear that it is his staff who are taking 99% of the action and decisions, often in his absence on other business both Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary.

    • Cliff.
      Posted June 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      I hate this modern idea that everyone should be forced to donate to a charity. Charitable donations are a matter for the individual and not a media led or government led policy.

      Many people have second jobs and I can’t see why MPs should be any different. If a second job interferes with your ability to do your main job, then you need to choose one or the other. I live in Mr Redwood’s constituency here in Wokingham and I can say that I have seen no evidence whatsoever that his outside activities nor his other interests detract from his ability to carry out his duties as an MP.

      I think the whole media led row over expenses has now ran its course and a certain large media empire must feel the same, as they are now attacking the BBC’s expenses regime. Perhaps this created outrage will be used by that large media empire to gain even more of a commercial advantage over it’s main rival the BBC, I don’t know.

      I personally believe that no individual, not even MPs should be required to disclose to the public their whole income, that information is private and I would not like my private business exposed to all. An MP’s salary buys us their time only, we do not own them as part of the deal.

      This whole expenses fiasco has been whipped up by the media to sell copy and they have been able to do this because the British people seem to have a need to knock down and be hateful of anyone that has achieved anything or has something they don’t have. I know that everything people like Mr Redwood have gained has been through hard work and talent and the British people, in general terms, would do themselves and our nation a service if, instead of being jealous, they adopted the attitude that if they worked hard and tried, they too could obtain such fruits.

      Sadly, parliament has too many dishonourable people within it, Mr Cameron has led the way in sorting out the rotton apples in our party and I must give credit to him for that, however we need now to accept time is needed to sort out the mess and thus the media need to back off inorder for the politicians to clean up. If the Labour government changes parliament too much, it is likely that they will destroy that too, just as they have with almost everything else they’ve touched.

      Mr Redwood, I feel you were wrong to stop claiming your second home allowance and wrong to pay any previously claimed money back. It was a legitimate expense and you are entitled to it.

      Many people that use an expense account as part of their employment have put in expense claims on a suck it and see basis to see whether or not the company would pay it, I just feel many MPs have done basically the same thing. It is funny that many of the items the media keep bringing up were in fact not paid; The duck island and the moat being prime examples. Whether these items should have been claimed for in the first place is another matter but, I can see no wrong in people putting a claim in on the basis of finding out whether it is an allowable expense or not.
      I constantly hear many of my fellow citizens baying for blood and prosecutions however, you can only prosecute for criminal actions and, as far as I can see, there have only been a few instances that could be classed as fraud and therefore criminal. The CPS, Police and courts will sort that out in time. It should also be noted that retrospective legislation cannot be brought in to criminalise actions that happened in the past and were deemed to be legal at that time. People really need to get a grip now and stop allowing themselves to be herded like sheep by the media. Think for yorselves people, it is a truly liberating experience, you do not need to be told what to think by neither the media nor the Labour government, try it; you might like it!!

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted June 27, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        I agree, save the “suck it and see” approach to expenses.

        Expenses are claimed for costs incurred in carrying out ones job. No employee should be in the position of incurring an expenditure as part of the job without knowing exactly the situation for being reimbursed for that expenditure.

        How much is paid is a matter for the employer and its employees. However, a point is reached where expense reimbursement becomes so generous that, for tax purposes, it is considered a benefit in kind, and therefore taxable. If reasonable then there is no taxable benefit. What is reasonable is agreed on a national basis.

        My experience in private industry is that employers allow claims up to the non-taxable limit. MP’s expenses should be treated in exactly the same way.

        The second homes allowance is not fit for purpose because it is an ALLOWANCE claimed as EXPENSES. Reforms to better regulate second homes EXPENSE claims completely missed the point, and will make the situation worse.

  2. Shaun Pilkington
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    This is ludicrous. Second jobs strike me as something to be *encourage* among back benchers as it keeps them involved in the economy and affected by the laws they choose to tie it up in. Professional politicians – especially those who leave university, become an MPs helper, party flunky or policy wonk and then work their way up to a seat – are, by definition, removed and separate from those they wish to govern. Politicians thus raised become a ‘class apart’ – and the history of representative democracy in this country has been to remove the ‘ruling class’ ethos in favour of anyone being an MP because they’d be *representative* of the people (on a number of levels).

    And so the professionalisation of parliament continues and we get grimmer and grimmer drones in both major parties. Both have front benchers who’s entire careers have been in politics. If it wasn’t for those with genuine second jobs (not those Ministers/ex ministers get as directors in return for favours done due to their ‘excellent contacts’) then there’d not be a voice at the table from those involved in the real world…

  3. Jon
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    My view is in opposition I would encourage outside interests. So many Politicians seem to be career politicians from the very start with no outside experience. Also, those with some outside experience seem to be from areas such as law, accounting and the Civil Service. This is not a broad spectrum.

    I have often felt where are the MP’s from Construction, Engineering and Agriculture. Nice to hear Engineering does have some representation in an outside interest. I would like to see that continue. I would also like to see all opposition MP’s with atleast one outside private commercial interest so that they can build up an expertees in one area each of commerce atleast.

    This is a red herring or evn envy by the left.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 26, 2009 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Jon

      Agreed, a properly managed outside interest gives a different perspective to politics, and keeps you in contact wiith the real World.

      Only when you are a Minister should you have to curtail other outside employment.

      We have too many career Politicians and PR people.

      • Jon
        Posted June 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        I wounder with the internet being used more now, blogs, twitter etc that the PR people are now being out gunned.

  4. Josh
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    You shouldn’t have to explain yourself. But unfortunately the way New Labour has politicised the BBC beyond all recognition means you have to. The question is, do we want a parliament of experience e.g. the parliament of days gone by where the Labour benches were composed of miners, manufacturers etc, and the Tories were full of ex military men, businessmen and women, industrialists etc. Now Labour is full of politicians!!! People like Purnell, Miliband, Miliband, Balls, Alexander etc went from university to a think tank, then political advisor, then special advisor, before being parachuted into a safe seat. So unfortunate. I think it is a mark of a good frontbench that Cameron’s shadow Cabinet is giving up so many second jobs. They are gonna need every bit of business acumen and economic knowledge to swim through the treacled mess left by Labour.

  5. Lola
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    For the record we receive copies of Evercore Pan Asset’s monthly briefings and they are worth a read.

    The other Tory bloke what rote good stuff woz Howard Flight. He ran Guinness Flight and he wrote a monthly briefing. In the late 80’s, as Thatcher/Reagan won the Cold War and the Berlin Wall and leftyism collapsed with it, he was right on the money with his views on the bond market and interest rates. I would name a particular fund that he designed based on his views and was operated by his outfit and which has consistently performed well, but that’s probably not allowed on here.

    That makes two Tory’s that I know of that have a vague idea as to how money and capital and wealth creation and preservation works, which at my count makes two more than on all the MP’s on the New Labour benches, with the possible exception of Frank Field. It’s certainly 200% more than the MP’s masquerading as Ministers on their Front Bench. It’s certainly makes you 200% more knowledgeable that the witless PM and his current Chancellor.

    IMHO MP’s absolutely need to keep a connection with the real world. They need work outside the parliamentary bubble to keep them connected with commerce and industry and people and markets. In the old days Labour had working trades unionists on its benches, many of whom had a reasonable grasp of commerce, even if slanted to flawed leftyism. All they have now is a bunch of half successful domestic science teachers, so so lawyers, economic journalists who can’t write and career politicians. It’s no wonder that they want to ban MP’s from having jobs outside Parliament.

    In case you hadn’t guessed this is something else that has got right up my left nostril.

  6. TheCogitator
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    This is very suspect. I am quite concerned about MPs ‘other job’ when everyone else has to work for their employer exclusively and get 20 to 25 days holiday a year.

    I can appreciate there is a need to withdraw from politics for a good period each year to recoup. However, demands from an external job during parliamentary time is unacceptable as far as I am concerned.

    The public have a right to expect a full time MP when Parliament is sitting. The other question is whether parliament is on vacation (not sitting) for an excessive number of weeks. I appreciate that this most certainly doesnt mean that MPs arent working on MP duties during this time. I guess as we now all appreciate, transparency is the key.

    Reply: Parliament does not meet enough, as I often pointed out. We are about to have an 82 day break!

    • jean baker
      Posted June 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      John,

      Your honesty is to be applauded. The party line appears to be a concerted effort to undermine the reputation and basic function of our MP’s which, to many, is increasingly distasteful. I cannot (and would not!) speak for despicable Labour, but Conservative MP’s are readily available to listen to their constituents concerns.

      There seems to be a correlation between the fact that serious issues requiring full democratic debate are sidestepped by Labour in Parliament (you reported) whilst ‘trial by media’, sleaze and sensationalism escalates.

      TheCogitator – of greater importance is the electorate’s right to democracy and democratic procedures and vote on the Lisbon Treaty. Constituents concerns with their MP and or their performance – in or out of the House – have always been dealt with directly and will continue via ‘surgeries’ etc.

      • TheCogitator
        Posted June 27, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Actually Jean, the more time MPs have working on MPs duties the more time they will have to fight trash like lisbon and hold surgeries.

        The governance of this country is a very serious business. I’ll take some convincing there is enough of a case to allow MPs to work at other roles in ‘term time’.

        • jean baker
          Posted June 28, 2009 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          I do not agree. John Redwood has clearly illustrated in his blog how the ruling party prevents/averts issues needing debate in the House. Many expect this will worsen under Labour’s new Speaker; his lack of respect for the House, his historic, unique refusal to wear the ‘badge of office’, confirms he’s already allowed to be a ‘rule unto himself’ within the hallowed halls.

          John is a shining example of a MP with ‘outside’ interests, duly represented and satisfied constituents.

          Conversely, Mandleson’s proposed attendance on ‘strictly come dancing’ – using politicians as ‘media celebrities’ (to increase popularity) was shouted down and out via the media.

          ‘Broken Britain’ was not caused because MP’s had ‘outside’ interests; Mrs Thatcher’s historic ‘turnround’ from the previous mess was with ministers with ‘outside’ interests.

          I believe the ‘Hail Brussels’ brigade are doing their utmost to discredit MP’s per se and deter the serious minded from a career in British politics.

          The only issue of concern to constituents is whether or not their MP works effectively – John has pointed out they are ‘barred’ from asking/debating serious issues. Therefore, a return to democracy, freedom from oppression, is long overdue and represented by the local election results.

          No country, especially Great Britain, should be ‘ruled’ on the basis of media spin and manipulation.

    • TheCogitator
      Posted June 27, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the reply John – perhaps you could address my point about the second job which you undertake in Parliamentary time.

      Reply: I don’t

  7. Robert K, Oxford
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    We should pay MPs less and encourage them to have outside interests. In fact, it should be Westminster that is viewed as the “outside” bit of an MP’s life. What they do outside of Westminster is of remarkably little interest to anyone.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Shaun Pilkington on this one.
    One reason for the success of this blog is the fact that our host knows what he is talking about because he lives in the real world of the boardroom, not the University Campuses where mad ideas are floated about because there can be no come back.
    What I am coming to loathe is the arrogant leftie assumption that “WE” are right and you are WRONG. You can see it on (a named BBC personality’s) face best. You can also see it, now, quite a lot on the face of our Prime Minister.
    A sneer is not an argument. It is a sign, actually, of narrow minded deafness to the other person’s point of view. I deeply regret to say that I often have seen the same expression on the face of religious people…….

  9. Brian E.
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I see no reason why any MPs not holding a post in government (for which they receive pay in addition to their MP’s salary) should not have another job.
    Ministers of the government have “another job” in that they are ministers and clearly not devoting all there time to being an MP and acting on behalf of their constituents. As no-one is unhappy with this arrangement, why should anyone object to someone having a job elsewhere which absorbs a similar amount of time? My only proviso is that they should not expect to employ extra staff, at public expense, to carry out parliamentary work that they are unable to do personally. And I fail to see why what they earn needs to be revealed to anyone apart from the Taxman, the same as for the rest of us.

  10. Ken Adams
    Posted June 27, 2009 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    There are several reasons why we should not ask our MPs to give up all outside interests.

    I think it is unreasonable to ask someone to put all their eggs in one basket and when they stand a good chance of being thrown out of their job within five years.

    It is also yet another method of the party exerting a controlling influence on an elected representative and further eroding their independence. Our parliament is supposed to represent the people not become a separate political class representing their party.

    It is a recipe for even more political careerists with Westminster centred outlooks and no genuine day to day contact with the real world and no external experience on which to make decisions.

    Are not all Cabinet members taking a second job in any case.

    It will undoubtedly lead to even more costs in higher salaries.

    Paying a wage to MPs opens up parliament to those do not have an independent income, forcing people to give up all other interests excludes those who do.

    The only reason we need to know about outside interests is in case of a conflict of interest, but then we have people like Lord Mandy thingy watsit lord protector ect ect who has a conflict of interest in that he is paid by the EU, him, the Kinnocks dynasty and several others including many Conservatives also in receipt of large pensions and other payments from the EU, who for some inexplicable reason seem exempt from such base considerations as a conflicting loyalties. Yes the Lords.

    Depriving MP of a chance to earn extra income does not seem to address the problems of the expense claims in any case and will not lead to a clean up of parliament.

    Do we really need a full time parliament filled with full time law makers who will only fill their time by creating even more laws, rather than better laws.

  11. Mark
    Posted June 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I think we should require MPs to display current and past interests up front as part of their election manifestos: each MP should state what, based on that experience, they can bring to the House. If they have a degree in politics and no real outside experience, then they should expect that other candidates will make an issue of them only being suitable as lobby fodder, and not worthy of being elected.

    I can see no reason to consider that a regular MP should be considered a full time employment. A member of government is a different case: however, they will be better ministers if they have other experience.

  12. JohnOfEnfield
    Posted June 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I am re-reading Roy Jenkins’ biography of Churchill. In it he discusses the critical need for an MP to have a “hinterland” outside politics – himself & Churchill included.

    How could Churchill have survived under the current strictures?
    His sanity as well as financially.

  13. L woodward
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    MPS SHOULD HAVE ONE JOB ,THEY CAN OTHER INTERESTS YES BUT NOT JOBS AS SUCH,SURELY ITS AN EXCUSE TO SAY THEY NEED OTHER PAID EMPLOYMENT TO KNOW WHATS GOING ON ,IF THEY WERE IN TOUCH MORE WITH THERE CONSTITUENTS ,THEY WOULD KNOW WHATS GOING ON ALLRIGHT CALL AROUND GET INVITATIONS TO PEOPLES HOMES HAVE MORE PUBLIC MEETINGS OPEN TO ALL ,VISIT BUSINESS ,WORKPLACES ,YOU WILL FIND THIS IS A FULL TIME JOB AND ACT ON THE MAJORITY VIEWS OF CONSTITUENTS

  14. Rachel
    Posted July 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Hmm…yet another example of how Home Counties MPs seem to inhabit a different universe from MPs here in the far flung frozen north.

    I actually think that it takes 2 people to represent this constituency (Copeland). Either that or we need MPs with the ability to clone themselves.

    Constituents work their MPs HARD in these parts. They also expect them to be in 2 places at once: Copeland and Westminster.

    …but it’s bigger than that. I grew up in a corner of the Tory Shires that hasn’t changed in 20 years. For most people who live there, this is a GOOD thing. MPs are there to stop the runways, the housing estates, the motorways etc. etc.

    In contrast, the Copeland economy will be dead in 20 years if nothing changes. We depend on our MP to fight for our economic survival.

    That is not a part-time job.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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