Following the latest cash for access allegations, should MPs be prohibited from outside work?

Angela Eagle MP is shadow leader of the House of Commons, says Yes

Voters rightly expect their MP to be representing them full-time – not earning thousands of pounds of extra money on the side. We must draw a line under these lobbying scandals, which do so much to undermine public trust in politics. That’s why, in the next Parliament, all Labour MPs will be banned from holding paid directorships and consultancy roles. It’s deeply regrettable that David Cameron has said that he won’t expect the same standards from his Conservative MPs. Labour’s manifesto will include a pledge making this ban a requirement for all MPs. We will also make a commitment to impose a strict cap on other outside earnings. To those who argue that paid directorships broaden experience, I say that it is possible to bring a wide range of experience to the Commons without being paid huge sums of money which leave voters wondering whose interests are really being reflected in Parliament.

Keith Boyfield is the founder of Keith Boyfield Associates and an Institute of Economic Affairs fellow, says No

I firmly believe that MPs should be able to take second jobs. Malcolm Rifkind’s quote for half a day of his time highlights the fact that MPs are extremely poorly paid. If we ban them from doing other things, all we’ll be left with are multimillionaires and unsuccessful lecturers. It is also crucial that MPs have outside interests to keep them in touch with the rest of the world. If they were confined to parliamentary activities, the (already) alarmingly low standard of legislators in the Commons would slide further. We need to encourage people to stand as candidates, not erect further hurdles which deter those with something to offer from coming forward. Our aim should be to attract polymaths to the job. Somebody like Rory Stewart MP – professor, author, soldier and diplomat – is a case in point.

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