POLITICS

Caroline Lucas: Let MPs Job-Share And Work Part-Time

Greens co-leader wants the Commons to be more accessible.

05/09/2017 13:38 BST
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MPs should be allowed to job-share to open the role up to people from more diverse backgrounds, according to Greens co-leader Caroline Lucas.

Her party’s only representative in the Commons, Lucas has shared her leadership role with Jonathan Bartley since last year. 

At the launch of a pamphlet on job-sharing by the Fawcett Society in Westminster on Tuesday, the Brighton MP will use a speech to celebrate its benefits, claiming it would allow politicians to “keep a foot in their communities”.

“Job-sharing MPs could keep their caring responsibilities, they could keep voluntary work, they could continue part-time in their profession,” she will say.  

“It would help more women into politics, more disabled people and more people for whom being an MP is currently unimaginable and inaccessible.”

The pamphlet, called Open House? has been edited by Birkbeck University professors Rosie Campbell and Sarah Childs.

With forewords from cross-party MPs, it brings together essays from a number of contributors to make the case for introducing MP job-sharing.

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Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston also thinks MPs should be allowed to job-share.

The suggestion has also been floated by new Labour MP Laura Pidcock, as well as senior Tory Sarah Wollaston, who previously talked of veteran MPs being allowed to share their positions with newcomers. 

Wollaston, who took part in a job share as a GP before she entered Westminster, told HuffPost UK in 2015 that such measures would not have to cost taxpayer any extra and could bring “other areas of expertise” by having two people from different backgrounds representing a constituency.

“We’re gradually creeping towards (being more representative),” she said.

“We are up to nearly a third of MPs being women but we still under-represented in terms of people with disabilities and other lived experiences.

“It’s very important we find a proportionate way that can address that.”

Lucas, who won her party leadership alongside Barley under the banner of ‘The Power of Working Together’, added: “Job sharing complements our commitment to fairly sharing wealth, sharing resources and sharing power.

“And whilst breaking open and democratising the political system remains critical to the Green Party’s goals, demonstrating part of what that might look like felt like an incredibly positive step to take.”