Tony Blair tells wannabe MPs to 'get a real job' before entering politics

The former PM also criticised MPs’ pay as too low

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair has said wannabe MPs should get a job in the “real world” before entering politics.

The former prime minister said the failure of many politicians to get outside experience reduces the size of the “gene pool” from which future leaders will be chosen.

“How many leaders and, for that matter, followers in a parliament or congress have real-life experience in responsible positions outside of politics?” he said in The New York Times.

“Today it is very common for a young person interested in politics to graduate from university, go to work for a politician as a researcher or political analyst, and then transition straight into an elected position.

“I only spent seven years working in the private sector before entering politics, but it was a crucial, formative time. I learned about business and about people in a way that was greatly beneficial when I later came to govern. In particular, I learned the difference between academic political ideas and policies suited to ‘real world’ application.”

Mr Blair also criticised MPs’ pay as too low despite Ed Miliband’s pledge that ministers will take a 5 per cent pay cut if Labour win the 2015 election. “Politicians are not really well paid by the standards of those who are successful in the private sector,” he said. “This restricts the attractions of a political career, at exactly the time when we most need the gene pool of our politicians to be varied, vibrant and vigorous.”