‘We should be in touch with world’: Altrincham’s Brady defends second jobs for MPs

Graham Brady has insisted that it is important for MPs to do work outside of their political responsibilities, to stay ‘in touch with the world outside Westminster’.

Figures released last month revealed that the Altrincham and Sale West MP is set to earn £37,505 this year, in addition to the £74,000 standard wage he receives for his position.

MM can reveal that the total amount of extra income Greater Manchester MPs will earn this year will exceed £120,000, although that is massively offset by the £66,000 earned by notorious Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk.

But Mr Brady defended those figures, claiming that it can be beneficial for both politicians and voters if MPs have a wider skillset.

“MPs’ salaries are fixed by an independent body and MPs have no control over them,” he told MM.

“It is important that MPs’ pay should be fixed at a level that allows people from all walks of life to contemplate serving in parliament, but not at a level that would attract people to parliament solely for the income.

“It can be beneficial for MPs to maintain a variety of outside interests whether paid or unpaid.

“Parliamentarians should be in touch with the world outside Westminster.”

The Committee on Standards in Public Life announced as early as in 1995 that it is important for Members in the House of Commons to have ‘a wide range of experience to contribute to its expertise’.

However, data collected in 2015 found that 107 current MPs are career politicians.

Despite this, the 2015 pay increase for Members of Parliament was intended to be sufficient to keep talented individuals in public services and away from the private sector.

And it is for this reason that Unlock Democracy – a campaign group for democracy reform – cast doubt on the efficacy of working second jobs in improving politicians’ performance.

“The salary increase was meant to bring them in to line with other figures that have similar responsibilities, so their talking about head teachers and managers in the civil service,” a spokesperson told MM.

“Those people do not typically have these second jobs, so there definitely is a question that if they are getting the salary increase shouldn’t they be viewing their job as an MP in a similar way?

“I don’t think an extra £10,000 a year is going to attract more people, they already want to be MPs, it’s a prestigious position with a lot of influence.

“They will never be able to match salaries with top private sector jobs, the extra £10,000 isn’t going to make people who want to become an investment banker suddenly become an MP.

“They already have fairly generous expenses to run their offices, the additional salary isn’t going to go towards hiring other members of staff, they are just going to be compensated better.

“I doubt you will see a big increase in the quality of MPs after the salary increases, if the salary was justified by bringing in other people you might expect to see that, but I imagine it will be the same people who always become MPs.”

Many of Greater Manchester’s MPs are clearly not earning much from second positions – other than Mr Brady and Mr Danczuk.

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and Oldham West’s Jim McMahon are the only individuals to earn in excess of £1000, making £15,100 and £6588.56 respectively.

And the Taxpayers Alliance told MM that what MPs do in their spare time is nothing to do with the proletariat – as long as they are doing their job properly.

“That is the system we have, if MPs are carrying on with their job then I wouldn’t see why we would penalize them for having a job outside,” a spokesperson told MM.

“The amount does not concern us, it’s about whether we think that MPs are failing their constituents.

“If David Beckham for example runs for parliament and wins his seat and he plays weekend football every weekend and he is paid money that we will never even see in our entire lives is that really something that bothers us?”

Image courtesy of Leave EU, via YouTube, with thanks

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