Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Being an MP isn't a part-time job

Well, if you can't get away with fiddling your expenses, you can always do less work for the money you are getting ...

Parliament sat for 296 days from May 2010 to May 2012. That's a 148-day working year.

And this year the Commons is expected to sit for less than 140 days – the Government could suspend parliament as early as Thursday, and not later than April 29, before returning on May 8 for the Queen's speech.

But as any glance at the Parliamentary Channel on TV will prove, even then you don't have to spend too long doing your basic job. All you can see are acres of green leather, untouched by the posterior of any politician. Often there seems to be just half-a-dozen MPs lolling around

Where on Earth are the other 640 odd? Chilling out in the tea-rooms ... sorry, doing essential constituency work?

Even some MPs like Margaret Hodge are embarrassed by the situation.

And they're right to be worried about how it looks to the public in an age when we are all being urged to tighten our belts, go the extra mile, do a couple of hours work on the computer every night at home and generally spend our earthly existence in fear for our jobs. What's going on at Westminster looks like rank hypocrisy.

What about the right honourable members getting a proper job? Or at the very least putting in a proper shift every now and again?