MPs are paid a full-time wage. They should do a full-time job.
There is no job description. MPs can go off to California or the Channel Islands and idle their lives way. Some have. The £65,000 still rolls in.
If MPs moonlight their addition earnings should be deducted from their salaries. The alternative that I have always argued and practiced is the rule that all my additional earnings should be given to charities.
Some outside work is tangental to an MPs work and can be beneficial. Writing, lecturing broadcasting multiply an MPs work and influence.
Cashing in on a parliamentarian title and influence should be exposed. We all have limited time and energeries. Their committed to the day job must be fulltime.
In November 2007 Gordon Prentice and I raised the issue of 'Cash for Comrades' at the Public Administration Select Committee. There are £73billion worth of contracts up for grabs to clean up the mess left behind by our last disastrous use of nuclear power. That's before we start on the new disaster.
There were reports that two of our parliamentary Labour colleagues had taken jobs with firms bidding for the fat contracts. Iain McCartney was said to have a job with Fluor for £115,000 a year, Richard Caborn with Amec at £75,000.
Richard Caborn appeared before our select committee. He was in combative mood. He began with a storming defence of his engineering credentials. He was once 'the apprentice of the year' and he had engineered up and down the country ever since as boy and man. What's more the firm that pays him the dosh is in his constituency. He has to work for his constituents.
I asked him if he thought an MP's job is a fulltime one? He said it was. This took the wind out of his sails a bit. As he has Amec on his patch, I have EADS Lifeforce and big firms that I promote as vigorously as I can. I said if one of them offered me a bung of seventy grand I would regard it as a corrupt practise.
At that time, one local firm offered me a service that I would like but could not afford. Had I accepted it I would have had to declare it and my ability to promote the company would be undermined.
Richard's testimony should be studied with care. Promoting a constituency firm and constituency jobs does not need an additional income of more than an MP's salary. Most MPs regret that there are not 48 hours in every day so that we can do justice to the demands of our constituents.
Ed Miliband has a point. My constituents would go berserk if I told them that I was taking a second job with a second salary but still staying on as their MP. They would certainly kick me out at the next election.