Benches Of Green, Empty They Are

The current furore over Rifkind and Straw got me thinking.  Rifkind’s extraordinarily arrogant comment about being self-employed and not getting a salary  really got my goat.

I won’t go over the same arguments all over again, of course he’s not self-employed. It did, however get me thinking about how much time our politicians should be spending in the House of Commons.  Naively I assumed that as elected politicians, elected to represent US in the House, they should be spending some time each, or most, days on the Benches. How wrong was I?

Members of Parliament are not obliged by parliamentary rules to attend the House at any time.  So, like many other things, if it’s not covered by the rules they can, and do, ignore it.  Can you imagine ANY organisation being effective and efficient if the staff just turned up when they felt like it?

If you want to know how often your MP has attended the House, the official advice is this;

You can scan Hansard to collect figures on the voting records of particular MPs 


Furthermore, you can also access Hansard by Member and view contributions made by MPs during the current session, sorted by date or subject heading


For Select Committees, the members that attended are listed at the top of the of each evidence session. Furthermore, each edition of the Sessional Returns provides details of membership and the number of meetings attended. 

For public bill committees, the full membership of the committee is listed and the Members who attended each particular sitting are asterisked.

The best I can work out is that MOST MPs attend the House of Commons about 66% of the time, or put another way, for about one third of the time they’re either committed elsewhere or can’t be arsed. 

WE pay them £67k per year, minimum, more if they’re a Minister or belong to a Committee and still Rifkind thinks that’s not enough.  They seem to have completely forgotten that they are paid out of the Public Purse, no matter how much they’re getting paid. They’ve had their 11% pay rise, their increased pension pot and their more than generous Expenses Scheme, is it too much to ask that they actually rock up and do a full day’s work?