Why backbenchers like George Osborne should all have second jobs – or third, or sixth

Osborne's constituents far from thrilled by his new job Osborne's constituents far from thrilled by his new job

I suppose I agree with the general opinion that George Osborne is unwise to take so many jobs and so many hundreds of thousands of pounds while remaining a Member of Parliament – safer to take the money and run. But I do not at all agree that it is wrong for MPs to have second (or even sixth) jobs.

We the public are in complete confusion. We rightly complain about an out-of-touch political class, but then we won’t let MPs stay in touch by being in the world of work. We don’t need complicated rules about all this, because MPs, unlike civil servants, have no security of tenure. If we don’t like them working for Blackrock and editing newspapers, or whatever, we can kick them out.

The real misunderstanding is to think of being an MP as a job. It is better described as a representative role. Being a minister is a job, of course. You run, or help run, a government department. For as long as you...

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