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Cameron wants end to 'double jobbing' MPs/ MEPs/ MSPs etc

Clock_107c In his latest statement on getting better value for money from taxpayers' spending on politics David Cameron has written for the Belfast Telegraph about politicians sitting in two legislatures:

"Being an MP is not a part-time job. Members should be fully involved in every aspect of national governance and debate. Influence in Westminster is based on presence in Westminster. No-one, irrespective of how talented they may be, can for any significant time be a full-time representative in two places. I said in Scotland last week that one politician should not try to serve two masters, so they should only sit in one legislature. Being a Member of Parliament must be a full-time commitment — as should being a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The public deserves nothing less. This is why I said that any Conservative MP elected to a second legislature will give up the other seat at the first available electoral opportunity. Across the UK there are 17 MPs with dual mandates, combining a seat in Westminster with a seat in a devolved institution. Of these 17 MPs, 16 are from Northern Ireland: all nine DUP MPs, all five Sinn Fein MPs and two of the SDLP's three MPs. I understand that Alex Salmond will be giving up his Westminster seat at the next election. It is recognised that dual mandates do not work — they rob voters of a real voice in Parliament."

Much of the logic of Mr Cameron's argument could also be applied to MPs with outside interests.

In terms of getting better value for taxpayers' money the most important next step for David Cameron is to strengthen his commitment to reduce the number of MPs.  He has currently pledged a 10% reduction but is being outbid by Nick Clegg and today by Polly Toynbee.  In today's Guardian she proposes a reduction of more than a third.

Tim Montgomerie


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