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Unbelievable! People who are not prepared to work full time in the Shadow Cabinet have no place there. The sooner that these people quit the better in my opinion. Where is the notion of public service?
Nobody but nobody is irreplacable.

The ideal scenario would be for Cameron to do this and then for one or two middle-rankers to quit in disgust. Would be great press, especially if William Hague was cheerleading Cameron's actions all the way. Do it and clear out a few of the idiots that somehow scuttled their way into the shadow cabinet.

One other view is that it would be insult to injury to prevent an already effective spokesman from supplementing his income in a manner that did not reduce his political input and dedication in any tangible way, while leaving in place an ineffective spokesman who is already so rich as a result of his (ahem...) trust fund income that even socialism does not hurt him. I'm sorry, but it has to be said.

Malcolm Dunn is spot on. There's no shortage of people wanting to go on to the Candidates' List and become a Tory MP. If you don't like the pay and rations on offer, do something else.

I hold my hands up. I resigned in 2005 from the Candidates' List primarily because of Dave taking over. Almost as important, I took a long, hard look at the material pay cut that I faced aged 35 and decided I would rather be financially secure than become a glorified social worker.

If they are more interested in making money than serving our country then let them walk, actually give them a very public boot up the arse. We need a shadow cabinet dedicated to the cause, not part time politicians, the public would also react favourable in seeing Cameron take such a stance, plus he could get some beasts and new blood in as the shadow cabinet as it is feels terribly lightweight at the moment.

What about dave doing a bit of attacking himself.Leadership!!!

Malcolm, I agree. Politics has been soiled by grubbing career-politicians and those who dabble in the political milieu. I have yet to meet a modern MP that I can feel deference for, they don't command respect in the way that a Lawson, Howe or Whitelaw did. The modern politician is a production line politician, manufactured and manicured to the point of nausea. Where are the great minds? The great motivators? The great public servants?

I can't make up my mind on this issue.

On the one hand, there is the necessity to concentrate on the task of attaining office.

On the other, there is the benefit that Tories have some people who are demonstrably employable elsewhere and therefore have wider experience, as opposed to its (and other parties') careerist politicos insulated from the ordinary world out here.

Good move by David Cameron! If people aren't happy then that is frankly too bad.

Beware the law of unintended consequences.

As a result, we may put off MPs of talent and experience from serving in the shadow cabinet. Some might not even want to be an MP at all. After all, isn't stopping all MPs from having other jobs the next step along the thickening wedge?

If followed through to its logical conclusion (and bear in mind Labour MPs are already pushing for a ban on all outside interests), we will end up with benches packed full of career politicians, where the only qualification for office will be whether you worked in the CRD or Policy Exchange.

If we don't allow talented people to supplement their incomes they won't become MPs. Simple as that.

I say go for it -- if there is going to be change then the sooner the better.

A full time shadow cabinet might not miss so many open goals!

Nothing that counted as a 'real job' could possibly be fitted around the job of being an MP (unless they want to make being an MP part time, and adjust their pay/expenses accordingly) - let alone a front bencher. So I don't buy any argument about it being experience of the 'real world' -- politicians should be in touch with the 'real world' but a second (presumably very well paid) job isn't the way to do it -- living off a single salary from a single job is probably a better way to keep in touch.

I note that a member of the shadow cabinet telephoned the Director General of the BBC, last evening, to 'assure'him that the story on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph suggesting that the Tories will cut the licence fee is not conservative party policy!

I have worried about Cameron for quite a while. I do not believe he is a 'leader' and I am absolutely sure he is not aware of how 'common' people tick!

This would have been an open goal for the Tories. This would have been a very popular decision.

They could have let the story run just to guage public opinion. But no Cameron, in the words of Maggie is FRIT.

I believe that the music for the Conservative Party should be Roy Orbison singing RUNNING SCARED!

"I believe that the music for the Conservative Party should be Roy Orbison singing RUNNING SCARED!"

..though the difference is that Roy Orbison's song ended on a happy note ;-)

Perhaps more a question of 'A Love So Beautiful' :
"The summer sun looked down
On our love long ago
But in my heart I feel
The same old afterglow

A love so beautiful in every way
A love so beautiful, we let it slip away"

.. noting particularly the last line!

Can't have it both ways, people. Everybody is always complaining about the fact that politicians have now become a professional class and are, therefore, completely divorced from the country. Now the same people are complaining about Shadow Cabinet members having other interests and other employment or, in other words, being part of the rest of the country. Which is it to be? The newspapers will whine whatever the decision is.

What's wrong with full time professional politicians? This whole gentlemen amateur thing smacks of another age when only the independently wealthy were allowed to join in. The world is more complicated than it was and we need representatives dedicated to dealing with that complexity and protecting us from those who exploit it to rip us off.

Ken Stevens.

Lovely song and lyrics. It sums up the Conservative Party after the assasination of Margaret Thatcher!

They certainly let it slip away.

Lovely song I am playing it now!

While he's at it, can he tell Boris Johnson to drop the million pound contract from the Telegraph that he sneakily decided to tell the voters about after the election?

"While he's at it, can he tell Boris Johnson to drop the million pound contract from the Telegraph that he sneakily decided to tell the voters about after the election?

And throw away his most effective line of communication to voters? Would you prefer him to instead use taxpayers money to set up a new "Londoner" instead?

I don't see why the shadow cabinet should have no outside interests. Politics should not be a job, as such, unless you are actually a minister of the crown.

"This whole gentlemen amateur thing smacks of another age"

Another, much better age, when the business of government in Britain was carried out far more intelligently and effectively.

We are not looking at the abolition of salaries, but at the abolition of the principle that the House of Commons is a gathering of non-noble persons from across the country elected by the people, as opposed to a gathering of paid employees of the state.

This should be judged on an individual-by-individual basis. Hague earns a lot of money from outside interests but the party is much better off with him in the shadow team making his contribution albeit not full-time.

It is also important to note that one person's part-time is another person's full-time. Many MPs work very very long hours. I do not begrudge them topping up their incomes with ten or fifteen hours per week of external interests.

In a recession this has to be handly carefully. Although an MPs salary is by no means huge (in the commercial world) for an awful lot of voters it is double or treble their salary.

We don't want to be seen as bloated, money hungry and having to have snouts dragged out of the trough...

However, on the other hand if your worth £30ish million like DC and his good lady it doesn't seem much of a sacrifice..

Calls for strong leadership and a clear message

Note to self - don't try and type so fast and read posts before submitting!

Cameron needs to up his game. He has done a good job "detoxifying" the brand, now he needs to stop twatting about and get stuck in to Labour and stop missing the open goals.

If Cameron can't be bothered (or simply cannot do it) then he needs to go and make way for somebody who can.

C'mon Dave - do or die. It's that simple.

"And throw away his most effective line of communication to voters?"

I think you'll find that most newspapers accept articles by politicians unpaid when they cover their basic job responsibilities.

Anyway, better politics for Cameron to act first rather than wait for Labour to amend the GLA Act and make this change in a way that is humiliating for our party.

Of course the shadow cabinet should be putting our case on a full-time basis. They are paid extra for this job after all.

But let's not conflate this to a wider criticism of parliament. More than 3,600 new criminal offences have been introduced on Labour's watch for instance. The less time MPs spend churning out new laws the better. Longer holidays now!

How do you define outside interests? If it is earnings from profession or occupation, how does this differ from earnings from writing books or after dinner speaking? It would be invidious to allow book writing, say, but not being a consultant to a company.

Non-company income may deflect a shadow minister from his duties just as much as a directorship, and acting as a barrister for a day or two a week may actually be much more time consuming than acting as a company director.

If the argument is about time spent on extraneous duties, then surely all outside earning should be banned.

If the issue is one of divided loyalties, or possible corruption, then while you are in opposition you have no power. The time to consider possible corruption is when you enter power. At that point it is relevant to ask a potential minister what gainful employment he has had. This will apply to both previous shadow cabinet members and also to those from the back benches who become ministerial candidates.

If all MPs are warned that the prospect of a cabinet post will depend on previous employment, consider what they do in the meantime.

Spurious arguments here and the usual Trolls.
The work of a Shadow Cabinet Minister is of utmost importance and morally a full time job. I suspect that the failure to respond to the Liebour attack dogs and their lies and spin is because they are full time. E.G., Liebour, to great fanfare, are about to announce that social mobility since 2000 has increased. We should be already primed to counter with "It has increased, DOWNWARDS!"
Bet we say nothing, see nothing, do nothing. Routine actions of part timers!!

Shame on any Shadow Cabinet member who fails to give their position the full-time commitment required. There is already a strong feeling amongst many that not enough work is being done by some in the Shadow team. Visibility is too low.
If you want success you are going to have to hit harder than you are currently doing.

If someone would rather leave the shadow cabinet than give up other work then they should never have been in it in the first place...

Unfortunately the only way to find out is to make them choose.

Given the main criticism of the shadow front bench is lack of visibility on their roles, making it a full time commitment cannot do any harm on that score.

M Dowding
"We should be already primed to counter with 'It has increased, DOWNWARDS!'
Bet we say nothing, see nothing, do nothing. Routine actions of part timers!!

A slight policy difficulty difficulty here, not to do with part-time or otherwise:
Social mobility was greater when lack of family finance was no bar to grammar school then university, provided of course you were clever enough (I was OK for the former but too dense for the latter).

I'm referring to ordinary local grammar schools, not 'posh' ones. Mine produced such luminaries as Lord Triesman... oh well.. yes, you're right; grammar schools aren't always a good thing ;-(

"And throw away his most effective line of communication to voters? Would you prefer him to instead use taxpayers money to set up a new "Londoner" instead?"

Perhaps he would be better off writing in the Evening Standard?

Elected executive leaders should be concentrating on the job at hand, not pontificating in the press. If Boris wants to communicate to his electorate, he needs to use more populist channels, have an official blog, have an accessible website or use the tabloids or local papers. It just drives home the message he is a dilettante, which most of the Shadow Cabinet seem to be anyway.

As for the idea of having touch with the real world, the Shadow Cabinet do not have that in their day jobs anyway. They aren't working as dustmen or shop assistants or chippies. That's what people usually mean when complaining about politicians not understanding the real world.

Just thought - if the Shadow Cabinet don't want to take a pay cut, how on earth will they behave as Cabinet ministers? They need to give things up now before they are lampooned as being sleazier than Mandelson.

I am less concerned about 'real' additional real world jobs than I am about 'sponsorship' of specific members of the front bench,especially those prone to being entertained by unsavoury associates.Sponsorship always comes with strings. There are no such things as free lunches,most especially if taken aboard a yacht.

If Conservative MPs wish to earn a lot of money then perhaps Parliament is not the right place for them.

Call me old fashioned but I think being an MP is a privilege and a public service.

MPs, please make your money before coming into Parliament, and then please spend all your time in the House, and your Constituency.

I do not want MPs to be social workers. I want someone with a brain, who can make an inspiring speech, who wishes to serve his/her country.

(Fortunately my own MP fits the bill)

I would agree with that wholeheartedly Caroline.
I note once again Felicity that you side with Westminster politicians. I assume you work in the bubble and have lost touch with reality.
As hard it may seem to you the day of the 'gentleman' politician is long since gone. Those with excecutive positions have to put in huge hours just to be moderately effective. Shadow Cabinet ministers should be stretching every sinew over the next 12-18months to ensure that the Conservative party form the next government and also that a new Conservative government should be as effective as possible. If they can't do that then they should find something else to do.

Little to add to what Caroline and Malcolm have said.

It's nice when we can agree once in a while, although the blog would get boring if that happened too often :D



At relatively modest salaries and 120 days sitting per year with perennially almost empty benches, one wonders if MPs should be paid at all, after all there are some who work for political the party virtually full time and do not even draw expenses. I suggest MPs should not be paid at all and should gain their salaries and experience outside parliament. Their debating skills and voting record will afford them any due preferment. One might see a rise of ex service men in the house but that would be a good thing.

I see no reason why extra-curricular work should be outlawed, excepting circumstances where there is a clash of interests.

In no other line of work would we dare do this. If a CEO wants to deliver lectures on Success in Business on Saturdays, we wouldn't stop him. If a secretary wanted to earn extra money by doing some freelance proofreading, so be it. Of course, these examples are poles apart but illustrate the point; if there is no conflict and if their voters do not receive a sub-standard service, why not let them?

I understand the 'politics is perception' argument, however caving in to media pressure on topics such as this is a dangerous and slippery slope.

More pathetic shuffling of chairs divorced from policy making. That is why we hate you. Go away and come back with something substantive or just go away. We are not listening.

What is worse its this is Cameron pandering to the media or pre-empting scandal when what he should be trying to do is inspire the public with POLICY. Give us something to vote for that will be differeent, something that the opposition will be too frightened to steal. Give us something to believe in. We will vote if you do your jobs.

If the shadow cabinets only source of income was their parliamentry salary, then maybe they would be that bit 'hungrier', and be pushing more policies...

Stop them working for ID card technology manufacturers, lame I.T. contractors, and selfish defence companies. Throw P.F.I. in the garbage bin.

Ignore the lobbyists' lies and persuasion by thinking with common sense. Tell them where to go with their faulty plans that waste our money and put our soldiers in danger, hurting the country so they can get richer. They can do things the right way for the country or they can go to hell.

Nobody seems to have mentioned the incomes some politicians receive from family trusts. Nothing wrong in this, but unless Cameron wishes to exclude people enjoying these benefits I do not see how he can object to anyone earning money outside parliament.

Too many of the present lot, including the Tory front bench, have no knowledge of life outside politics.

That's patently cobblers.

Most, if not all, MPs across the parties have excellent business backgrounds. But, before you start yelling, what's wrong with NOT being a businessman??

I want my legislators to think more widely than merely 'what does business need'... I want them to think about abortion, euthanasia, the morality of war, social mobility, crime and justice and so on and so on.

I'm not sure how a background in busiess sets you up for these issues better than, say, a background in politics.

Never mind Shadow Ministers; what about the poor, bloody infantry who give of their time and money to support the party and get these guys elected? While they are out campaigning in all weather, their 'betters' are busy making money as none ex. directors and the book and lecture circuit - not to mention, swanning around on large yachts! If they don't have enough to do as Shadow Ministers, get them onto the TV news more often or let them come out on the streets and campaign.

My opinion might be cobblers to you Steven Adams, but I don`t think I am the only person with this opinion. Full time politics since leaving school seems to be the way to success today unfortunately and the country is the poorer for it.

Edward - too true. You don't have to be a businessman to be an MP. A lot of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have been in other professions or occupations and very few Tory MPs these days have. It's time we started recruiting from that area as well and show we not only know what's good for business but for health, education, the other professions and so on. Then we might have something other than gimmicks, rabble-rousing and silly diatribes about the BBC, because we have some people with grounding in real life who aren't really bothered with life in the media stratosphere.

Thanks Louise. My own MP Philip Hammond is one of the few Tory front benchers, perhaps the only one, who had a business career before he became an MP and although I disagree violently with his views on the EU (which underwent a remarkable change when he was promoted) on local matters he is a first class constituency MP. We need more like him.

OK, 'cobblers' was a bit strong, and I do apologise. But the point does remain that it's ever so easy to have a go at politicians because we believe something that we once read in the papers without giving the topic much wider thought. This, I believe, is such a situation.

I imagine, and I'm sure you'll do some reading now and prove me wrong, that you don't actually know the proportion of Conservative MPs who have done what before entering Parliament. What you DO know is that Cameron did PPC at Oxford and that he and Osborne are wealthy individuals. Just to evidence this, I'd point to your comments above that say Philip Hammond is perhaps the only front bench Tory who had business experience before becoming an MP... Gillan was a very successful marketeer with Ernst and Young, Grieve was a member of the bar, Gove an extremely successful journalist, Alan Duncan worked for Shell before trading commodities, Liam Fox worked as an Army Medical Officer, GP and surgeon, David Davis (albeit no longer front bench) worked for Tate and Lyle for 17 years, Lidington worked for BP and RTZ I think............ in fact, without doing research I'd be fairly willing to bet that every member of the front bench has some meaningful – if not, excellent – experience in business, in a number of sectors.

Why, if they can do it without a clash of interests and still providing voters with excellent service, should they not work as hard and as long hours as they'd like for whomever needs their skills? Is it not this spirit of industry that underpins conservative principles?

Fair comment Steven. Suggest we leave it at that.

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