Sir: "A tonic for Westminster," proclaims your leading article (12 May). Lord Nolan's report is a much needed tonic for the public, too.
My parliamentary experience taught me that to do an MP's work properly is more than a full-time job. To have paid occupation, as well, means that the more important task for which one is elected must be neglected - quite apart from the corruption that can ensue.
Many Conservatives argue that knowledge of outside employment is vital. But, since hardly any Members are elected before their thirties, they gain their experience of outside work before they go to the Commons. So Denis Skinner's insistence that MPs should have no other paid employment is right on the mark. And Lord Nolan also says that this is his personal conviction.
So many on the government benches find their daytime services required in the boardroom, the courts or consultants' offices that other Members often have to be engaged in the House until 10pm.
The writer was Labour MP for Salford East from 1955-1983.Reuse content