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Then they should be let go. My satisfaction with Hague has just plummeted to zero.

Hague is overrated.

He is popular in the rank and file but I think this is mostly a case of living off past 'glories'.

No one is inexpendible and if DC puts his foot down and Hague doesn't like it, he can - to put it bluntly - sod off.

What's more importasnt to these people - cashing in on after-dinner speeches or helping to turn the mess of this country around??

Wouldn't be surprised if Duncan is replaced with Ken Clarke.

"Further to Jonathan's post earlier today, the Daily Mail is reporting that "William Hague threatened to lead a Shadow Cabinet walk-out if David Cameron forced his frontbench to give up high-earning second jobs.""

Smacks of Blackmail.

If this is true does it reflect Camerons weakness?

Shock - Horror! Successful business men and women running the country? That can't be right. After all look how well a bunch of ex-teachers and social workers have done.

Our lot are obviously over qualified to run the country - get rid of them before they do too good a job.

You've got it all wrong; only those with outside interests should be allowed to have shadow cabinet rank. Why? Just look at the labour cabinet.

Let Hague go if he wants to. It's his choice. There is no reason why a party should give a prominent and important position to an MP who wants to put his self interest before the interests of the party and his constituents.

Hague is almost invisible in the media and has under performed against the woeful Harman at PMQs. No wonder our operation in the North is stuttering.

It is now clear that he is at best a figure head and is not willing to do the heavy lifting that the party requires.


Its a bit rich for Steve Hilton, sitting in America with his substantial party-provided salary, to try to dictate who in the shadow cabinet should earn what.

Hague gave the party more than it was grateful for when leader in the dark years, and remains an extremely capable and effective force. Why try to drive him out?

Stories of disunity are very unhelpful to our cause.

Sack him now - why should I give 100% for no money in my consituency if our leaders can't be bothered?

Typical politician. Self-serving a**ehole.

I honestly wouldn't have suspected Hague of this kind of shenanigans.

Do we really think he's prepared to take the approx £100k pay cut to be a cabinet minister then? Show ponies and habitual under-peformers should be shown the door.

I back William Hague on this. There is no obvious sign that the task of generating effective opposition to the government on foreign policy issues is not being properly addressed, so far as he is concerned. We surely do not want to encourage a primary school situation where effort, as reflected in hours worked per se, is equated with achievement, as reflected in (e.g.) ConHome net satisfaction ratings. Let's face it - the Shadow Cabinet is arguably carrying more lightweights who have no notable outside interests, and the argument for demonstrating that your would be rulers have proven outside world business experience is hard to refute.

Cameron should drop kick them in the new year. If all they want is the money then they obviously don't care about governing.

This dosn't look good to the average voter though,the tories are in danger of giving the left-wing biased press in this country a bone to play with.

Cameron isn't to good at this game,like being labelled the do nothing party.

He should have other things to take the headlines like,arranging live television debates before the GE to give Labour a headache,would Brown really not turn up,it could be arranaged,or tentative talks now!

He needs to be more decisive,tell Brown he will have a debate before GE,on his own if necessary,the media would lap it up.

Everytime the Labour Party has bad headlines or possible bad headlines,it gives a bone to the media to deflect news coverage,the tories need to smarten up,call Brown out,the media will go into the new year calling Brown a coward,who cannot even travel to a warm studio to have a debate with DC,while our troops are fighting on the other side of the world,Brown has already chickened out of a debate before.

Cameron wants to learn the media game and fast,because the Labour spin machine is going into overdrive,and this is just the start,2009 could be GE time.

Even though the debate could be over a year away,the bringing up of the word coward again must wake Brown up in a cold sweat.

Cameron was doing best when he was letting rip on Brown,look at the polls.

The Mail's story isn't true. Unsurprisingly enough since it was fed to them from the Leader's Office end of things, not William's. Of all the fearful 'Roon efforts to smear William, the man they of course fear most, this has been the most pitiful yet. Obviously shadow cabinet members, like backbench MPs, should be allowed to do 'other stuff'. It's why, for example, there was nothing wrong with Dave, when he was shadow Education Secretary, cashing in a sinecure directorship bunged to him by a relative. But it's interesting all the same that they've chosen Christmas to attempt a hit on Hague, however risible.

As for garbage like, "[William's] critics would, however, point to an under-developed Conservative foreign policy", well, what can I say? Other than, they don't, point or anything else. This is Tim's (distinctly minority) view, and why he can't just have the honesty to express it thus, rather than framing it in this absurd, roundabout fashion is beyond me.

It has been quite clear for some time that Hagues only real interest regarding politics is to raise his own profile and so his earning potential outside the Party. It should be all or nothing, they get paid to do a full time job and without his profile gained whilst supposedly working for the tories he would be no-one.

William Hague only accepted a return to the frontbenches (and he was begged to return) on the condition that he continue to pursue some of his outside interests. The £230,000 quoted is but a quarter of what he was earning. It is quite rum of David Cameron to go back on the deal and insist he gives up his residual benefits too.

The whole 'outside interests gives experience' argument is a bit weak. Where that outside interest is after dinner speaking I can't see how it is adding to a politician's knowledge or capability. Where it is something more substantial there is no need to hold that interest right up until the election. The experience is still there, even if someone quits their Lazard directorships 18 months before the election. And we should be more concerned about the experience people have before they are MPs.

Cameron should call Hague's bluff on this. After all, if Hague were to be merely a backbencher during the next Conservative government he would quickly see his outside earning power diminish.

Spot difference.

Tory story,response silence.

Labour story-German trash G/Browns economic performance,rushed out knife crime stats,okay they were dodgy figures,but wall to wall coverage of them,community leaders of knife crime projects on News channels,home sec,the German story was pushed out of the headlines,that knife crime story basically stole the show.

Tory HQ need to start playing the Labour game.

It was a stupid ultimatum to make anyway. Why on earth should frontbench spokesmen for the party have to give up outside interests. Its just another case of 'Team Cameron' trying to show how great they are and falling flat on their faces as per usual.

My only concern with Hague's performance has been his support of the EPP and the EU in general, but I suspect thats not something that worries Cameron.

My advice to those around the leader is to stop throwing your weight around and get on with putting your own house in order. Mabye then we wouldn't be seeing reducing opinion poll leads!!!

Hague needs to get his priorities right.

remember William,David Davis would be a ideal candidate,it is a shame that such a universally respected MP can not be fitted back into the Shadow Cabinet,he would put his job as a MP first.

Why get rid of William Hague he is a capable Shadow Foreign Se and secretary actually recognisable to the public adn widely admired outside dedicated followers of Politics.

10 percent of Hague is better than 100 percent of Villiers, Duncan, Spellman, May and Ainsworth

Well said George Causer.

Duncan is useless and loathed. Why is he still there?

"10 percent of Hague is better than 100 percent of Villiers, Duncan, Spellman, May and Ainsworth"


I see when push comes to shove Hague showed which actually meant more to him.

Cameron should show a bit of backbone and state he either wants to help be in the next government or go make himself even richer.

God knows how this has gone down with the voting public, knowing that the shadow Cabinet want to keep thier extra cash, whilst the rest of the country is trying to survive a financial crisis.

George, you are right on this. The Yorkshire Nipper will be a great Foreign Secretary because he understands the past, compared to the present Cabinet who would be unemployable in any other job.

While I sympathise with those who say we need talented people with outside business experience etc, I tend to agree more with those that question the appropriateness of William Hague and Alan Duncan's divided time and loyalties. And the Ed indicates Duncan's position does seem worse. Maybe DC needs a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle to increase its effectiveness. But it would be a pity to lose William Hague's political talents, so I would hope he would be able to re-order his priorities right.

Toryana @ 21:39

Deep respect and agreement.

Like Berkow, he's probably in the wrong party in any event.

I think William Hague should remain in his position of shadow Foreign Secretary. He is doing a great job. Probably the only popular member of the shadow cabinet.

Why shouldn't MP's have outside interests?

Kind of shocked to read all this really.
I agree with George Causer.
Hague is and has been one of my favourite MP's from any party for some many years now. I would be very sad indeed to see him lead the shadow government.

Whether in business or as the Admin/Owner of an Internet Forum I have one rule. If someone says "If you don't let me do this I quit" then I hand them their P45. One should never give in to blackmail. Perhaps Hague could go back to be a drayman on the beer lorry that he once boasted about.

Possibly, Steve @ 23:03

Better still he could go back to leading the Conservative (as was once)Party.

Give the shadow Foriegn Secretary's job to Malcolm Rifkind and Alan Duncan's job to Kenneth Clarke.
Nobody's indespensible.

This is utterly ridiculous. Doesn't Hague earn most of his money from after dinner talks? What the hell is wrong with that? Should he instead stay home issuing foreign policy statements? This is a fuss over nothing. When in government the standards will quite rightly be different. For now, I think it's fine.

Not every Shadow Cabinet member is an Old Etonian with family money to fall back on.

A lack of outside interests has certainly not improved Osborne's woeful performance.

I only got a tenner a night lap dancing in North London. And these shadowy ministers reckon they need lots of cash on the outside. Lib dems are skweeky clean!!

Electoral suicide - wide open to the claim that the shadow cabinet is too busy rooting about in the trough for pieces of silver to run the country..

It should be an honour and a privelege to serve your country as Cabinet Minister...

If the money isn't good enough - then step aside for someone who is prepared to sacrifice a little for the honour of serving our country...


The Shadow cabinet are, with a few notable exceptions (eg Chris Grayling, Dominic Grieve) almost invisible. Why?

Hague's high rating is more a reflection of his popularity than his performance (I tend to rate him based on how much I like him rather than his unremarkable record as SFS). Perhaps Hague would be better suited to a de facto Deputy Leader role than the Foreign office.

can anyone actually give an example of where Hague has messed up his brief? He is streets smarter than almost any of his colleagues, handles a tricky opposition brief (as foreign policy has a lot to do with events not planning in advance and managing a large budget in one of the spending departments) and critically is the only member of the shadow cabinet who has cabinet experience.

He is indespensible and that is why people pay so much for him! Why should we overlook his talents when we desperately need people of calibre to show we are ready to govern.

I like Hague and think he is a valuable asset to the Shadow Front Bench. I do not know if a certain miffedness crept in over the Georgia business. If it has, I am sorry, I would hope both Cameron and Hague were bigger than that.
Alan Duncan, though not my ideal dinner guest, is a person I have respect for and hopes that he will find that edge to push just that bit harder in taking on the Mandelson spin. Have that confidence boyo, push and you will find out how straw that man is.
As outside interests, well this is the ying-yang,: to understand your brief you need the social/business ambience to mix with real players for their knowledge: you need to know which ones are trying to play you and which are straightforward to avoid charges of trough-snuffling. Yes, it can be lucrative to the individual, but if you don't play, you can't influence.
It is a question of trust in your players. New Labour have shown so little ability in identifying people who play them that corruption (aka naiveness which I think is a better charge (well marketing types say their task is spin))) is rampant.

I just don't understand why shadow ministers keep the funds they raise from other interest, rather than passing them directly to the party (by whom they are 'employed')...

If the party received the full benefit of the income that the shadow cabinet generate - then maybe they could offer them 'enhanced' salaries too...

If (say) William Hague (employed as a shadow minister) does an after dinner speech they why does he pocket the money rather than passing it to his employer?

I am absolutely furious with this widespread insistence on "second jobs". It's nothing more than an abuse of elected position.

99% of families in this country would be over the moon to be living on a £70,000 salary, especially with the prospect of £100,000+ extra to come when said persons are in office.

This kind of attitude is greedy, misguided, selfish and arrogant. What a shame Cameron has not the backbone to ban this pernicious influence once and for all.

Not another Tory careerist in it for the money surely?

Storm/teacup; mountain/molehill. Aren't we always saying that experience outside the Westminster 'bubble' is invaluable when it comes to seeing the effects of policy? And, let's not forget that this is a *Shadow* Cabinet with, I assume, some members having nowhere near the workload of govt. When the Conservatives are in office their 2nd jobs will naturally decline. As for Hague himself, he always seems to be on our screens propounding Opposition policy so he's certainly no slacker.

Successful business men

Hague certainly isn't one of them. He is what Tiny Rowland called a "Christmas tree decoration" for his friend Guy Hands who owns the Army housing privatised by John Major but that is hardly "business" in the sense of Stanley Baldwin with his iron foundry or Neville Chamberlain with his family firm GKN

Successful business men

Hague certainly isn't one of them. He is what Tiny Rowland called a "Christmas tree decoration" for his friend Guy Hands who owns the Army housing privatised by John Major but that is hardly "business" in the sense of Stanley Baldwin with his iron foundry or Neville Chamberlain with his family firm GKN

I'm sorry, but if they expect to represent the ordinary people of this country in government, and feel that a full-time MP's salary of £63,291 + allowances is not enough, then they're not living in the real world. They should ask themselves just why they're in politics: to passionately fight for what they believe in; or as a gentleman's club appendix to their business pursuits. People see self-serving greed for what it is.

The party won't miss Alan Duncan.

He has achieved nothing other than agree with the government's support of nuclear and coal (which in itself is enough to show that he is completely out of touch and tainted by his business interests).

He would seriously consider quitting as Shadow Foreign Secretary, giving up the chance of a lifetime to be one of the key players in a volatile foreign policy brief?

I dont particularly feel enamoured with Tory foreign policy, agreeing with Tim that its very underdeveloped in some areas, and too developed in others, like the EU, which is just about the only foreign policy issue the Tories talk about.

How could Hague possibly want a Tory victory? The present arrangement suits him perfectly - being a Minister would tear him away from his money-making.
He reminds me of the old navy saying: "Nice chap. Bloody useless."

Usual bunch of no mark anonymous posters on this thread. Labour trolls all I imagine. Even ACT comes out from under his stone to claim that he knows what's going on in Hague's office! You're a bad joke ACT!
If this story is true then any shadow cabinet minister should be presented with an ultimatum to either give 100% or leave. Absolutely no one is indespensible however talented and as we are facing a government who will do absolutely anything to be reelected we cannot afford to carry passengers in the shadow cabinet.

This issue is a MASSIVE negative for us!


In the middle of the biggest global financial crisis since the 1930's we cannot (a) be shown to be part-timers and (b) be shown to be part -times with other jobs in the CITY!

Cameron has to be DECISIVE - a trait I have yet to see from him,but I am hopeful he will grasp the nettle.

He should re-form a Shadow Cabinet by 31 January 2009 inclusive of only FULL-TIME Politicians....no part-timers,however,good,venerable,laudible they are....

If he does'nt do that he will be exposed as weak and open to media scrutiny on this issue that could destroy us....

They can't be THAT confident of a Tory win ! Quite right lads - don't give up the day job !!!

I'm not as concerned with the hours they are putting in as how much effect they are having. Hague has been far from invisible, apart from Cameron and Osborne he is actually by far the most visible of the Shadow Cabinet. Duncan too is on TV far more than many of the shadow cabinet who don't have second jobs (in fact in my opinion he's probably on TV too much, he should for example never ever try to be funny on HIGNFY again, even Brian Blessed looked embarrassed by him!) But my point is, if they're doing a good job, and in my opinion Hague certainly is and Duncan does have his moments (even if Clarke would be infinitely better, but there's no way DC would get HIM to give up his outside interests either even if he lures him back at all) then does it really matter if they have time to fit a life in as well. Hague's books are very good after all, and as he is the only former leader of any of the three main political parties who has cared enough about his party to subsequently rejoin the Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet since Sir Alec Douglas-Home I feel we should probably not be too hasty to boot him out again.

You weren't to know Malcolm, but having been at two funerals inside a week, you could try and be slightly less of a jerk. There's both death and life outside CH comment threads.

If that is true ACT then you have my deepest sympathy.
Suprised that you found time to post yet another nasty comment however, if you dislike the Editor so much why not just go elswhere?

I like Hague and he is a good performer and knows how to put the knife in, but Cameron should move him. The other two members should be shunted aside as well especially if the tory lead in the polls widens.

Now who is hungry enough and talented enough to do the Shadow Foreign Secretary role?

On a slightly related question, should Cameron agree to form a group with this Libertas bunch as a way out of the EPP?

You can hardly blame Hague: why should he take orders from the two trustafarians running the Conservative Party who don't need outside interests to boost their incomes because they already have very subsantial inherited wealth?

This topic seems to have hit quite a nerve (like expenses did) - if people are to be moved, then the sooner the better!

Anyone fancy cross referencing income from external activities with personal donations to the party? If the front bench don't think the party needs finanaical assistance, maybe we should listen to them?

Old story about the plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken was involved; the pig, however was committed. What are they, chickens or pigs?

William Hague is the best shadow cabinet member we have. I just can't believe there are so many people here foolish enough to think getting rid of him is a clever plan. David Cameron, it seems, is smart enough to know otherwise. Wise heads prevail.

You're a class act Malcolm. Long may life afford you the time to post here.

I think that this country would be better governed if ALL Members of Parliament could hold down another job. They would then be much better informed of the business environment and of the state of the country.

I agree with Hague who should have quit on principal if 2nd jobs aren't allowed.

Sounds like something labour would do who have a weird outlook on what a job is... ie. your job is your life, or somesuch.
Yes, It may get votes as there are many people who believe that and are currently labour voters (the working class?) but it doesn't make for good policies/decisions

It's letting Labourites set the agenda and stop Conservatives knowing what is going on in the real world, which is a big advantage over the clueless lot they have.

If the 2nd job stops being second (in terms of time/attention, not money) then yes, something should be done, but I would guess most of the 2nd jobs are just directorships that take up an hour or 2 a week at most, or like Boris' weekly newspaper column which doesn't really take any time and not only saves money but earns some for the taxpayer too.

I'm not sure that pulling your own party to pieces is the right strategy to win an election, persuade voters you're a united party ready for government, or able to handle more than one job other than being sat on your arse in parliament.

Hague can do it so he does it.
Others don't because they can't.

I see that give Hague a distinct advantage over a Planted Labour Minister from the hip hop school of politics which is contrary to Hague's policies, ruining the country as opposed to running it.

Don't be Vague - Vote for Hague !

Norm Brainer said: "but I would guess most of the 2nd jobs are just directorships that take up an hour or 2 a week at most"

I think you may have hit upon the solution with this. I had not thought of it in the way in which you put it, I was thinking of the second jobs as a sizeable distraction from the shadow cabinet post.

If what you postulate is actually the case then I think the second job issue is of less importance than I previously deemed and the failure in this case is not making clear that the role of the second job is very minor and a minimal time impact.

...as long as it happens that way! Does anybody know for sure?

Always thought that Hague failed as party leader because he was not willing to give the job is all.
Now that this as come out Cameron will have to act as if he backs down and does nothing it will look as if Shadow Cabinet members are no more than part-time politicans.

What a load of cant on this issue. Anyone not capable of earning a living outside of an elected position should not be allowed to stand in the first place.

The curse of modern politics at National and Local level is the 'career' politician who will argue any case, take any stand to keep his income from the public purse. We are bedevilled by lobby fodder who once elected will abandon all principle, join any quango or regional body to increase income.

Democracy was better served when men who had made it in the real world added politics to their experience - rather than the reverse.

Stick to your guns Hague !

I am amazed to find myself agreeing with Jack Stone for once. The country is in a terrible state; I reckon 2009 will see an election; and the Tories need to be totally focussed on getting rid of this government. This is no time for part-timers. Perhaps if the Tories had been more determined since 1997 we wouldn't have a Labour Government.

Oh no. Just when I was going to join the party again... so I am expected to deliver leaflets and canvass while (some of) our leaders earn more than 3x my salary 'moonlighting'? For goodness sake, in these hard times, please think how this will read to the undecided electorate. We all hear the criticisms that polititians are in it for themselves with their snouts in the trough etc and this just proves it.

Alan Duncan has too many outside business interests while Ken Clarke knows the business brief inside-out and could biff Mand big time. Mr Grayling is a tough guy - born to be Party Chairman and rile Labor while IDS knows his stuff about conservative ideas producing less poverty and so merits the welfare brief. Sir Malcolm Rifkind could take Harriet Harman apart by being an adult taking on a child in an adults body unlike the ever pointless Theresa May. Oliver Letwin knows about farming owing as he has a rural seat and does project genuine environmental concern when on TV - he could replace the invisible Al Gore liberal -left type that is Mr Ainsworth. John Redwood can write the manifesto and replace Francis Maude as Cabinet Office Spokesman with a brief to prepare plans to cut down the Whitehall machine. Justine Greening would be top-notch as our head girl at transport while Theresa Villiers can move to Overseas Aid in place of the pointless Mr Mitchell. She is not invisible or lazy or short of ideas or hard-right ( and thus offensive to swing voters - her green transport ideas could win over Lib Dem voters ).Theresa Villiers could do the same sound work at overseas aid as she has at transport. Andrew Lansley is singing from a Blairite hymn sheet on health when we need conservative ideas to boost private health provision and slash waste in the NHS so that high-quality health-care can be produced. Angela Watkinson has written a superb booklet on this subject with Mr Redwood and is a hardworking type - she would be a great Shadow Health Secretary. David Davis must come back as Shadow Home Secretary to finish off Jacqui Smith and to show that the Tories have ordinary blokes who can appeal to working people like me. David Willets has been on the front bench since 1997 and other than upsetting sensible people over grammar schools has made no impact. Dominic Grieve has been over-promoted as Shadow Home Secretary - he is a brainy type and a thoughtful fellow . Surely a natural for the University post ?

This reshuffle would really help us win a general election by clearing out the deadwood , moving a few Shadow Cabinet members to jobs where their talents would best serve the Party and by injecting both brand new talent and great experience.

If John Redwood writes the manifesto we will have vote winning policies and Chris Grayling as Chairman is the man to hit Labor so that we not only offer an alternative but show why it is better than Labor's agenda. Francis Maude has never been much good and Caroline Spelman is so feeble as Chairman that it is a bad joke. Mr Grayling is feared by Labor as he is a great fighter and John Redwood has the brains to write a great manifesto while as Cabinet Office Spokesman can expose Labor's chronic wastage of money on civil servants etc and offer a cheaper Whitehall machine. IDS cares about the poor and has the ideas to help them and would work really hard as Welfare Spokesman. Jacqui Smith would hate facing David Davis again and Dominic Grieve would appeal to those educated at University by virtue of looking & sounding the part.

The last thing we need is more career politicians with no knowledge of life outside Westminster. We're plagued by them already. Holding down a real job and actually earning their money makes politicians less keen to confiscate and spend the voters' cash.
Who should go? In no particular order:
All chocolate fireguards.
However, I do get the feeling that Hague is semi-detached, which is a pity. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why that is?

Whom ever said (a few of you) this is no time for part-timers, you are correct. As are those who say this is no time to rip the shadow government apart. Why on earth when you are ahead in the polls would you get rid of some of the most high profile members. Even Alan Duncan is more known then some of the others. And some of those with part time jobs aren't even the most controversial members of the shadow government. Not picking on Osborne, I don't happen to have anything against him personally but I suspect his presence hurts the party more then Hagues after dinner speeches. As for some of the others, with part time jobs or without, on these little surveys they have here, I have to put "don't know" for many people I have never heard of. Or maybe they haven't stuck out enough to be remembered.
I do agree Ken Clarke should if possible be brought into the shadow government if he is willing. Though again there is the EU stance that goes with it. I also by the way am not anti EU, I am anti being rulled by Europe and there seems to be a fine line that is pretty obscure in politics these days. But I'm not a politician, just a normal person so...
But please please don't argue the case of ripping apart a team that is ahead in the polls for the sake of principle.

I'd prohibit paid 'jobs', but not speaking and writing, which after all keep the views of the Party in the public eye. It's the three hours a day at the Bank/Company that is a problem.

I'm delighted that the Conservatives have people who have run companies and had real jobs, and no-one would prefer that the Shadow Cabinet had the experience of David Miliband. However, the point of experience is that you learn from it - you take away the skills and lessons without having to still do it every day.

This is a huge PR negative, especially when MPss get £65k or so, plus expenses, and the Shadow Cabinet will get an extra £100k or so once they take office.

We are *at most* 18 months from an election - they won't be able to do these extra jobs once in government, so they should extricate themselves now.

As people have noted, it's not as though the party is still 20 points ahead, or the Shadow Cabinet are outperforming Chris Grayling. There is some deadweight, and talent on the back-benches.

Hague's bluff should be called, because there's no way he loses out on the FCO for money (when most is royalties etc) when that job would pay so well anyway.

Cameron has a gerat chance to stamp his authority on the Shadow Cabinet, and look populist doing it. No brainer. Moonlighting means resignation.

Will he do it?

I think Hague's popularity with the Conhome 'surveryors' will now plummett. To be honest he either wants to form the next government and save the country or he doesn't. If he wants to earn zillions in the private sector then he should go and do so but he shouldn't be allowed to do it from the House of Commons. Most other public servants cannot have second jobs (let alone third, fourth, fifth, sixth jobs). This whole debate really leads to a wider (and even more unpopular) question about whether we pay our MPs enough money. If we can't recruit the best people (ie. those with the aptitude, guile and intelligence) to public service (one assumes many of these people take better paid jobs in the private sector) then the country may face serious difficulties.

The damage wrought to the country has largely been at the hands of politicians with few interests, if any outside of politics, Gordon Brown being the classic example.

As long as the an MP's business interests are transparent, properly registered and do not significantly interfere with his or her parliamentary or political duties then that should be fine.

There are too many full time greasy pole climbing politicos knocking at Westminster and in the party machines already.

Hague has been a failure as Party Leader, a failure as Shadow foriegn Secretary, especially over Europe. He should be told to buck up or sgip out, if his insructions to pull hos socks up are public, then if he is sacked. or if he goes off in a huff (which is more likely) it will be clear why. Meanwhile he should stick to stand up comedy in the Commons-that is is his forte.

Are you all mad? You're arguing about something reported in the Mail as if it were real. You appear to be making judgements based on that story and this thread. There is no reason at all to assume that any of it is true. It is little more than a distraction and you seem to have taken the bait.

William Hague is a brilliant politician is capable of running rings around his Foreign and Labour counterparts.

Outside interests do not matter one way or the other because very few voters know anything about them anyway and so unless they are illegal or conflicting with the Shadow Government work, there is no need to change the rules. Doing so wouldn't impress anyone and would be very quickly forgotten anyway. Giving up your outside interests when you become the government works just fine.

The problem in reaching the electorate is little to do with who is a part of Team Cameron and in what post. The biggest problem by far is that the only two freeview rolling new channels in this country are left wing. Sky News obviously has its own adgenda to push because its boss can get away with more with his Labour toads in power, but the real issue is the BBC. The BBC is wholely corrupt in that it takes almost by force money from nearly the whole country, and then spends it on promoting the Labour party. Everything from air time, the stories chosen to dwell on, to even the subtle language and picture placement, is intended to create a positive image for Labour and a negative one for the Conservatives. With all the monumental cock ups of this government, imagine the public perception if the BBC actually reported in a neutral way. The BBC Trust needs to be fully independant and one of its main functions needs to be forcing the BBC management into political neutrality. A level playing field would mean the Conservatives would be far far ahead of Labour in the polls, whom would be pushed at least into a poor third.

The enemy is not within, attacking Shadow Cabinet members will not advance the party or win an election. Changing rules and mixing things up in the cabinet will not change public perception. The enemy (the enemy of the people of the UK) is the Labour Paty and their media wing. Stop the infighting. All effort needs to be directed at bringing down that corrupt partnership and relaying the Conservative message to the voters in clear and decisive terms.

Well said Tristan Downing!

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