There has been talk from the media today that the best was to clamp down on corruption and greed among parliamentarians is to triple MPs’ pay. Give them more money so they don’t need to seek out lucrative sidelines. I’ve got a better idea.
Cap MPs’ salaries at 2× the UK median wage (the UK median salary is currently roughly £30k a year) and scrap their access to expenses. Provide MPs with the use of a pool car to get them around. Restrict them from having second jobs, non-earned income from rental properties etc, and ban paid lobbying outright. Linking MPs’ salaries to UK median wages would see two things happen: 1. The really greedy MPs in it for th cash and connections would find other means of enriching themselves further, away from state legislative service. 2. The median wage would soon increase. Win-win.
The State should pay the rent and utilities on a suitable office in their constituency for MPs’ use when serving their constituents. As a special treat(!) they can have a rail card to get them to London and back. Any extra expense is their own responsibility, as with any other jobs.
If you want to be an MP, that should be your day job. If you’re a public service worker – a nurse, doctor, etc – then limited service there is allowed while in office. Mandatory reselection for all MPs should be the standard. They work for us. There’s no need for MPs to have a second home in London paid for by the taxpayer. Set up a London-based parliamentary dorm – make it nice if you like! – where MPs can stay when away from their constituencies.
Food and drink in the HoC is already heavily subsidised, and sure… Whatever. They can keep that too. But close the bars and ban alcohol. Parliament is a workplace. No other workplace would tolerate pissed-up employees during the work day. It needs to stop.
And when that’s all in place, an independent review of all aspects of political life – from parliamentary procedure, to political and social conduct, to voting and election methods – needs to be undertaken. Give MPs five years to fix it themselves or we scrap it all and start over.