Five ways to see if your MP provides value for money

Published in The Huffington Post on 11th July, 2013.

The issue of how much we should pay our elected representatives is again causing debate and outrage. Having worked in Parliament, I have seen firsthand that many MPs work incredibly hard, are committed to improving the lives of their constituents and are involved in politics for the right reasons (Steve Rotheram immediately springs to mind).

That said, I have also come across too many MPs who have only minimal interaction with their constituency and who are lazy, arrogant and vastly unfit for office. Some MPs in safe seats – those that are unlikely to ever lose an election because the support for their party outstrips the opposition – simply do not need to put the hours in because they know they have a job for life.

The appropriateness of giving MPs a £6000 pay rise at a time of economic stagnation and when a lot of people, especially those in the public sector, are really suffering, will understandably dominate the headlines.

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The ‘hardworking’ John Leech MP and his team of unpaid interns

InternsIts hard work, this politics malarkey – just ask John Leech. The Lib Dem MP for Withington placed four ads on W4MP on Monday advertising for a small army of interns to help him get through the day. The ads proclaimed just how hard the Lib Dem spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport works and stressed the strong role he plays in championing all of his constituents.

In fact, Mr Leech is such a strong champion of the good people of south Manchester that he wants four of them to work for between three months and a year on zero pay.

Leech, who makes a minimum of £65,738 per year as an MP, is advertising for a Campaigns Intern, Casework Intern, Research Intern and a Diary, Fundraising, Press and Communication Intern. Incredibly, the latter will be tasked with raising money for Leech to spend on communicating with constituents.

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