Should MPs be allowed to have side hustles?

One writer gives her take on a controversial hot topic in British politics: should MPs be allowed to have more than one source of income?

Sophie McMillan
13th March 2023
Image credit: Flickr.
With the announcement that Jacob Rees-Mogg is joining GB News as a presenter, we normal people are left to argue amongst ourselves - again - about whether or not MPs should be allowed multiple sources of income.

In my opinion, MPs should not be allowed to have another source of income. There should be no second jobs, no sponsorships, or anything of the sort. I fully believe that MPs should be required to work only with the (already generous!) wage that they are provided with, especially considering that they are allowed to claim expenses and are provided subsidised food within Parliament.

The complete lack of shame many MPs display in their expense claims doesn't exactly do wonders for their reputations

The complete lack of shame that many MPs display in using expense claims to buy furniture, heat second homes, or even their horses' stables, does not exactly help their reputation, and is surely not helping their budgeting skills. Making it so that MPs have to survive purely on their own wage would encourage them to make more rational decisions about other people’s wages and lives. After all, how can someone who has only ever known affluence grasp what it's like to budget for an entire family on £16,000? Are people in prominent positions, with multiple streams of income, in any position to tell those struggling that it's their own fault, and to simply “budget better?” Absolutely not.

Economic cronyism was a hallmark of the UK government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

I feel that MPs having a single job also deters incentivising certain political choices; likewise, it also prevents companies and organisations from getting the upper hand in business decisions. This problem was particularly apparent during emergencies - something all too familiar with the appalling results of the COVI-19 response, particularly all the money burned through Track and Trace spending.

In summary, politicians being allowed their own TV shows is simply a recipe for complete disaster. It is almost guaranteed that this sort of media outlet will be push biased and manipulative content, furthering the interests of the MP, and their party. Let's ban MPs from having second jobs!

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