Extracurricular activity

WHEN the sensible and loyal Jonathan Isaby of ConservativeHome is unhappy, the Tory Party should sit up and take notice.

Today Jonathan recalls the objection of a Conservative front bencher who didn’t want moved to a higher profile post by David Cameron because he didn’t want to give up his outside interests. “Such an attitude at this juncture is unacceptable,” Jonathan tells his readers.

This is all part of the debate about whether the Shadow Cabinet should give up “lucrative” outside interests. The FT reports that Cameron’s original plan to force his shadow ministers to do so has been shelved.

In fact, I sympathise with the view that MPs should have outside interests, even interests for which (horror of horrors!) they receive payment.

Surely the point of this story is that Cameron’s authority has been dented by his colleagues’ refusal to do as he wanted? And isn’t there an echo here of previous parliaments, when Shadow Cabinet members were reluctant to divest themselves of extra income because they didn’t believe they would become ministers any time soon?

Just asking.


Filed under Blogging, Conservative Party, David Cameron, Parliament

6 responses to “Extracurricular activity

  1. ani

    Disagree with you here Tom, and – please note – the commentators to ConHome and I are as one (!) even if the implications of that are a little scary.

    Whatever, explain yourself asap why you sympathise with them, because as you know, I for one am eminently reasonable and prepared to listen to your argument. ;0)

    Also I’m not sure that Cammers is on the back foot here, sounds more like he’s playing the ends against the middle to me.

  2. Johnny Norfolk

    Come on Tom you are scraping the barrel here.
    I have had lots of people I have employed and have offered them promotion. Some have refused for various reasons. thats what happens. This is just no big deal in fact I would thank him for not taking on something he could not do. Of course it tells you not to bother with him again and move on.

  3. richard

    @ Ani – You’d hardly expect Tom to agree with you, bearing in mind that he’s a career politician with a background in journalism whose only entry into the register of interests are paid articles for the press.

  4. Sam

    My experience wih the dedicated MPs is that they have no time for outside activities. If they are receiving payment for ouside business interest (or activities that is not in the interest of the constituents) then it purely means that they aren’t doing their job as an MP properly.

    This outside business income for the shadow cabinet just shows that they only want to do work as an MP if they are in government. For their own power and not for the general public

  5. Civil

    Could it be, Tom, after all their soundbites that it’s not GB but the Tories who think they are Superman…

    They are convinced they can save the world, while holding down a mild-mannered day job at the same time.

  6. Ani (@ 4.14 pm): I have some sympathy with MPs in general having outside interests; I don’t think it’s appropriate for front benchers, though; after all, they aspire to serve in the Cabinet, where they won’t be able to have the same external interests. If they were serious about the next job they hope to do, that should make them serious about the jobs their doing now, and clearly they’re not.

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