Labour candidate calls for Shropshire MPs to quit second jobs

A Shropshire General Election candidate has called for an end to MPs having second jobs.

Labour's Graeme Currie, front, canvassing in Oswestry
Labour's Graeme Currie, front, canvassing in Oswestry

Graeme Currie, Labour's candidate for North Shropshire, asked his rivals for the seat to give a commitment not to carry out any paid work outside parliament should they win on December 12.

The Parliamentary hopeful, who is challenging Conservative Owen Paterson who has held the seat since 1997, was out canvassing in Oswestry's Red Square yesterday.

Mr Currie, who runs his own social work business, said he would give up his job to become a full-time MP if elected.

He said: “I find it extremely surprising that some MPs have time to carry out second or third jobs.

"North Shropshire deserves a full-time MP who is 100 per cent focussed on representing their constituents.

"If I am elected as North Shropshire MP and find that I have spare evenings or weekends, I will use it to spend more time listening to the people I represent, not trying to pick up another salary."

How much do MPs earn?

The basic MP's salary has been £79,468 since April 2019 when it increased by 2.7 per cent.

According to the latest MP's register of interests, published two weeks ago, Telford's Lucy Allan was the only Shropshire MP not to hold a second job during the term of the last parliament.

GALLERY: Shropshire MPs' register of interests

Mr Paterson receives around £12,500 a month or £150,000 a year on top of his MP's salary.

This is broken down to a monthly £8,333 from Randox Laboratories for an expected 16 hours work, £4,166 a month from Hi-Peak Feeds for an expected eight hours work and £12,000 a year from Lynn's Country Foods for an expected four hours work every other month.

The register shows Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard receives a combined £6,491.18 in monthly fees from The Soufan Group, the Consumer Credit Association, Strategeast and Pass Technology Group.

That is the equivalent of £77,894.16 each year.

He was also paid £1,666.66 a month by the Smartwater Foundation between November 2017 and March 2019.

Meanwhile Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has been paid £6,000 each month for an expected 30 hours of work by the Electrum Group, a mining firm based in the US, since February 2018.

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne's only listed additional income is an annual £1,281 from Gatley Farms, the farm he and his wife own near Leominster.

'No need for further roles'

Mr Currie acknowledged it was important for MPs to have interests outside party politics, but said they should not be doing so for financial gain.

"People perceive that MPs are using their position to feather their nests and understandably feel outraged by this,” he said.

Mr Currie accepted that MPs from backgrounds such as nurses or doctors would need to do some work to keep their skills up to date and retain their certificates.

"There’s nothing wrong with that, especially where they’re performing a public service," he said.

"MPs are also often asked to speak to meetings, appear on television or write in the press, but we should be looking at ways of making sure those appearances don’t carry a financial incentive for politicians.

"The rules need looking at again. For now though, the public can clearly see the difference between extra work that is fine and extra work that is, to put it politely, taking the mickey.

"MPs earn a very generous salary already. They don’t need to take on further paid roles.”

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