Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Where Are the MPs?

Yesterday, I spoke at a Hansard Sciety/Institute of Government fringe which was discussing the job of an MP. I was the only non MP on the panel, which was very entertainingly chaired by Lord Adonis. Nick Boles, Mary Macleod, Sir George Young, Andrew Tyrie and Stephen Dorrell were the other speakers.

One point I made which the audience seemed to agree with, was that MPs are elected as representatives of their own party and as such owed their party a duty to attend their party conference. It's the one time of the year the party's grassroots has a chance to mix with and quiz MPs. Unfortunately, as usual at this conference the MPs are notable by their absence. Obviously I don't have the figures, but I doubt whether much more than a third of the parliamentary party have put in an appearance in Birmingham -certainly no more than a half. I reckon it was the same at Labour last week. LibDem MPs have a much higher proportion attending their conference as they are more noticeable if they don't.

Yes, it is expensive to attend a party conference, but it's the same for ordinary representatives.

Net year, perhaps the whips might like to gently encourage their flock to attend. It would be appreciated by the party workers who worked so hard to get the MPs elected in the first place.

16 comments:

WCH said...

Yes, Iain, you're right - it is expensive to attend conference. Personally I'd say that's work-related expense in my view (going to an industry conference would certainly count in the private sector) - so perhaps the party should be considering chipping in for the MPs to stay up at Conference?

Robin Horsley said...

An MP was telling me last week that a large proportion of the new intake simply cannot afford the approx £1000 cost to go. They have run their bank accounts dry getting elected in May and are not earning great money as an MP - as we know. I sympathise.

PJH said...

"One point I made which the audience seemed to agree with, was that MPs are elected as representatives of their own party"

Really? I thought they were elected as representatives of the electorate that voted for them.

Having this arse-about-face attitude really isn't going to enamour MPs in the eyes of the people they should be representing - their employers, the general public.

Windsor Tripehound said...

@Robin Horsley

"They have run their bank accounts dry getting elected in May and are not earning great money as an MP - as we know. I sympathise."

They are all volunteers so I have no sympathy whatsoever.

Attending the conference shouldn't be optional for MPs.

MikeyP said...

Perhaps a lot of Tory MPs do not like what they are hearing at the Conference.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Where are they? Busy filling in their expenses forms.

Sean Haffey said...

I'd rather my MP spent his time in his constituency. Conferences are for wonks and tribalists.

jules.williamson said...

It's funny when candidates want seats, you can't move at conference without bumping into them. Now they're MPs (and are getting paid for it), the majority aren't anywhere to be seen.

I don't get paid for the voluntary work I do for the party and I certainly don't get expenses. The £500 this trip will cost me is entirely self-financed - and I'm working for most of it.

I do it because I want the party to remain in power, so I'm prepared to sacrifice other things to afford to go.

It would be nice to see MPs show some appreciation of the voluntary party by showing up at their conference for more than a flying visit, or at all.

Lord Blagger said...

One point I made which the audience seemed to agree with, was that MPs are elected as representatives of their own party and as such owed their party a duty to attend their party conference
=======

That shows why Westminster is a sham.

MPs don't represent their electorate. They do what their party tells them, because its MP and their scams first, party second, and who cares about the electorate.

Look at the fairness issue.

What's fair about screwing the taxpayer for the mistakes of politicians? Nothing.

Lets have all MP's pension funds as a start on repaying the debts they have run up

Lord Blagger said...

One point I made which the audience seemed to agree with, was that MPs are elected as representatives of their own party and as such owed their party a duty to attend their party conference
=======

That shows why Westminster is a sham.

MPs don't represent their electorate. They do what their party tells them, because its MP and their scams first, party second, and who cares about the electorate.

Look at the fairness issue.

What's fair about screwing the taxpayer for the mistakes of politicians? Nothing.

Lets have all MP's pension funds as a start on repaying the debts they have run up

pete-s said...

Totally agree, but go further it is inexcusable!

Lauchlan McLean said...

Surely there should be an attendance register to be signed by all the MPs who show up so that the missing ones can be named and have an explanation for their absense ready to tell their voters who can decide if their MPs are fit to represent them in the future. Money cannot be an excuse for someone on £68,000 + travel expenses not to be in attendance

Glyn H said...

Just goes to prove that you should not seek to become an MP unless you have already made money; not least to prove you are competent. And that you can make independent judgements. To see being an MP as a 'job' is insulting. It is a vocation for serious people.

I used to go to Tory conferance regularly and have never earned more than half what an MP gets today, and my company expense account did not cover leisure activities.

The dreadful sqwarking Kirkbrides and their ilk are well gone.

If Labour think that Milibands are the answer I shudder. Adolphe Miliband and his shootist Bolshevik father fled Belgium in 1940 leaving their womenfolk to their fate, nice eh? And having got here to Acton Technical College Ralphy-baby made it his lifes work to seek to denigrate the country that gave him succour.

A bit to much like the Islamists for my money; always demanding respect whilst eschewing accepting our values and respecting the freedoms we have built over a thousand years.

Where indeed are our MP's and why do they not stand up for us, our country and our values?

Unsworth said...

@ Lauchlan McLean

Attendance Register, eh? What, like at the European Parliament?

eb said...

"One point I made which the audience seemed to agree with, was that MPs are elected as representatives of their own party and as such owed their party a duty to attend their party conference."

There was me thinking that MPs were elected to represent their constituents.

No wonder the electorate is so disillusioned.

................................. said...

"MPs are elected as representatives of their own party"

That's completely untrue.