Is being an MP a rubbish job?

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Nigel Morris in the i reports:

Lonely MPs are finding it almost impossible to balance their jobs with ordinary family life, according to a survey of politicians who quit Parliament at last year’s election.

It painted a picture of MPs struggling with increasing constituency workloads while facing continuing public hostility following the 2009 expenses scandal.

The report, by the Commons Administration Committee, found the most frequent reason for standing down was the impact on family life of a working week of 70 to 80 hours.

One former MP said: “I wouldn’t have done it if I had realised how hard it was to be an MP with young children in the constituency.”

Another said: “I really enjoyed being an MP but now I will get my life back.”

A third said: “It can be lonely living in two places.”

Former MPs also warned it would be difficult to attract more female MP, as well as younger people, until the workload was reduced.

This is something I have long believed. There can be a glamour attached to the MP’s role. However, an MP has no real power, she/he is a legislator with 649 others, the job is split, sometimes by hundreds of miles, involves a lot of hard grind and is virtually impossible to sustain at the same time as any semblance of a normal family life. It’s a rubbish job.

But therein lies some truth. Why would anybody do such a rubbish job? Well, the vast majority of MPs are actually extremely motivated to “change the world” and are prepared, in trying to do so, to under go enormous tedium and dislocation in their personal life.


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