PMQs: MP Peter Tapsell thinks “obsessive crackpots” would fill parliament if second jobs were banned

Lynsey Barber
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Tapsell thinks parliament would be different if second jobs were banned (Source: Getty)

An MP has said he believes parliament would be filled with “obsessive crackpots” if they were not allowed to take second jobs.

Sir Peter Tapsell, the oldest member of parliament who has been an MP since 1966, said those with money or with rich partners and those unable to get a job elsewhere would fill the Commons.

"If people in this house are not allowed a second job that membership of it will soon be largely confined to the inheritors of substantial fortunes, or to rich spouses or to obsessive crackpots, or to those who are unemployable anywhere else,” said Tapsell.

His comments follow yet another cash for access scandal in which two former foreign secretaries, MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw, were secretly filmed apparently offering help to private companies in return for money.

The scandal has sparked a row over second jobs with Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Ed Miliband clashing over the issue at PMQs.

Labour has made proposals for banning MPs from working as directors or consultants for private companies and Miliband offered to include paid trade union officials in the ban.

Cameron has disagreed fundamentally with the proposals as parliament was better with members with different experiences.

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