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Party questions priorities

Labour urges ban on MSPs holding second jobs

Kezia Dugdale
Kezia Dugdale: fair chance (photo by Terry Murden)

Scottish Labour wants legislation banning MSPs from holding paid second jobs in what it claims is a move to clean up parliament.

Labour says a number of Tory and SNP MSPs are currently earning up to £130,000 a year from outside interests.  

MSP Neil Findlay will bring forward proposals to consult on restricting the time and earnings of paid second jobs.

He will introduce a Member’s Bill and said the legislation would help restore public trust in politicians and ensure they are entirely focused on representing the people who elected them. 

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said she wanted to “restore faith in our democracy and give people a fair chance in life.”

Mr Findlay said:Being an MSP is a privilege. It takes every hour of every day to fully represent the people that put us in Parliament.

“The public expects elected politicians to spend their time fighting for a better society, not using their role to benefit themselves.

“At a time when ordinary people have had to endure years of a pay freeze they will be particularly shocked at the sums – sometimes double an MSP’s salary – earned by some. Naturally this will raise questions of where priorities truly lie.

“These changes, to restrict the time spent and money earned on second jobs, will help restore public trust in politicians and ensure they are focused on the day job.”

The other Member’s Bills to be included in Labour’s manifesto tomorrow are:

  • Extending breakfast clubs into every primary school to give children a healthy start to the day
  • Banning onshore fracking to protect our environment
  • Improving access to sanitary products to tackle ‘period poverty’
  • Scrapping the SNP’s hated ‘Football Act’ 

Daily Business Comment: Flawed idea

Labour has previously pledged to ban elected members from holding outside paid work. It’s a flawed idea and raises a number of questions.

It would mean anyone holding a lucrative position would be disinclined from standing for election. This would weaken the pool of potential recruits into public service. 

Labour says on the one hand it will ban paid second jobs, and then refers to “restricting the time and earnings” of paid second jobs. Which is it?

Would there be a bar on holding even a part-time time role?

Would there be a bar on anyone who inherits a company or is simply a member of a family company from which they derive an income?

While Labour claims parliamentarians should be fully focused on their jobs as MSPs, it can be argued that they benefit from outside experiences. They enrich politics and help to keep MSPs in touch with life outside the debating chamber. No parliament should be cocooned from the outside world.

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