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Monday, 6 September 2010

Nice little earner

When you stand for election to Parliament you have to be prepared to give up time for your constituents.

The people you represent have the right to be able to contact you, meet you, and discuss with you issues that concern them. Whether you think they are right or wrong, as their MP you have the obligation to listen to their concerns.

Is it right that MP's, or any elected member for that matter, hold directorships in outside firms while at the same time representing their electorate?

One could argue that it is a good thing, since elected members with outside positions have their feet, or at least a foot, in the real world of "business" and work. But then again, is it real work? Is it just an excuse to draw a salary and offer up an excuse why they cant attend that community fete, or only have appointments with constituents on every second Wednesday? What if our elected representatives then start having their community work couriered out to them?

Our own Malcolm Rifkind holds three directorships, one with Aberdeen Asset Management (thats a financial firm, not the steak restaurant), Continental Farmers Group PLC, and Adam Smith International. Each one calls on Mr Rifkind to attend meetings here and there, overseas travel and other ad-hoc projects. He receives about £10,000 per month from these three.

He was a consultant for BHP Billiton, a petroleum company based in the US, and is currently and adviser for L.E.K. Consulting. Thats another £10,000 or thereabouts.

Finally, Mr Rifkind is paid a sum of up to £5000 each for articles published by 12 newspapers, most UK based.

Hornet wonders why in 2008 he voted against capping MP's salaries, does he really need the money?

So when exactly does he fit in being MP for Kensington? He spoke at 17 debates in the House of Commons over the last year which isnt alot, and a scan of Hansard shows the majority relate to international affairs. Not one mentioned Portobello or the proposed Earls Court development.

Nice job if you can get it.

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