Term limits

Term limits for all elected posts? A minimum five year break for MPs after any consecutive fifteen years in office?

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  • Tim Whitcher
    commented 2016-08-01 07:47:30 +0100
    As far as presenting a career choice goes I think we are moving to a mode of working now where people no longer look for a career-for-life, in the same way they no longer look for a job for life. Offering 15 years potential employment in my opinion would not drive people away. It may have the additional benefit of convincing potential politicians to study more representative or technically niche skills at university as well (say STEM for example) and then bringing that to the HoC.And if implemented without a complete ban – say allowing MPs to move on to local Council roles or vice versa, the politician can stay in the public sector and perhaps gain first hand experience of what that is like. On the subject of pay – using the regional average does sound like a good idea for focusing the mind. It would need some more thinking about thought – some areas have lower average wages but we would still expect those MPs to travel to London etc. so there would need to be an associated overhaul of the expenses system.
  • Anne Baldwin
    commented 2016-07-31 10:10:35 +0100
    Sadly this software doesn’t let you reply direct to another comment, but just to re-assure Bob I have been floating this idea for decades and it has nothing at all to do with current Labour MPs … Indeed one bit of the careful thought in implementation would be about gradual phasing. Yes of course this sort of constitutional change needs to be part of a broader package. As a founder member of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation years ago I would want to see regional devolution as part of that broader package. One option for paying MPs I recall floated at a previous Hannah Mitchell summer school was that they should each be paid the average wage for their own region – which might rather quickly focus their minds on correcting dire regional disparity.
    A look at some of the research (LGA/CfWD) shows incumbency as one of the great barriers to equal gender representation. I don’t think making our governance bodies more representative is just a matter for political parties. The state, for example, could insist on gender monitoring of nominated candidates in all elections and share results.
    I am enjoying this forum but won’t be replying again for a while. I have promised myself the whole of August without social media and that will need to include commenting on here.
  • Sue Fewster
    tagged this with like 2016-07-30 19:58:56 +0100
  • Sue Fewster
    commented 2016-07-30 19:58:42 +0100
    I agree to an extent but it needs some careful thought put in as it may interrupt their main career for too long to be viable. And would the right kind of people choose to become MPs if it isn’t a permanent career move: might put off those without independent financial means?
  • Tim Whitcher
    commented 2016-07-30 15:56:02 +0100
    I agree – a fixed maximum and term followed by a period outside of politics, in industry or academia, would help bring some much needed experience into the HoC. It would act as a filter as well – drawing back those who are dedicated to public service once their period outside the HoC expires. The expiration would be linked only to the office level held (i.e. MP or Councillor) but not mutually exclusive; if one was an MP they could continue to service in another capacity. I do however believe the role of leadership in our society should be rewarded and a paid position – we are asking people to take on major responsibility (and ideally accountability) for which they should dedicate their time at the exclusion of other work – remunerating them is a fair balance for commitment expected.
  • Tim Whitcher
    tagged this with like 2016-07-30 15:56:01 +0100
  • Bob Crossley
    commented 2016-07-30 14:08:48 +0100
    Anne, I’m sure that if you put the idea to voters they would approve, and they’d probably approve the idea that MPs shouldn’t be allowed to claim any expenses, should be housed in a barracks and should be paid the minimum wage. The expenses “revelations” still rankle with most voters.

    I’m not sure, however, what the importance of voters’ current prejudices is. If we’re talking about the elements of a new constitution we should be looking beyond what would be popular now. The old adage “hard cases make bad law” applies here; that some MPs fiddled a badly thought out expenses regime (which originated in a political fix by Thatcher) does not in any way imply that curtailing MPs terms in office artificially will improve their probity.

    Nor do I see term limits as a way to improve diversity among MPs. MPs with safe seats would be the most affected group. Ask yourself how those MPs were selected for that safe seat in the first place. Answer – they were well connected in their party to begin with. Ask yourself how that selection process even in slightly winnable seats, left to itself, produces such a lack of diversity that even the Tory party has been forced to introduce a system to ensure some more women are selected. Answer – because it takes a lot of time and effort ingratiating yourself with a local party so if you’re not already working for another politician or a TU, or have your own business, or have private wealth you’re at a big disadvantage.

    I’ll admit that if selection processes were devised to ensure diversity the HoC would reflect that a little more quickly if limits were introduced, but unless selection is improved dramatically term-limits would just make the career paths of spads a little less difficult. I don’t think that’s much of an improvement personally. Selection procedures, however, are a matter for the party, not the constitution.

    Of course, if you’re interested in getting rid of particular MPs who oppose the current leadership I’m sure term limits are an absolutely wonderful idea, but I was under the impression that we were looking to the long term here, and not just short term political advantage.
  • George Savvides
    commented 2016-07-29 20:24:06 +0100
    I think there could be some merit in this. I would like to see politics be regarded as public service and not a career and this idea could help.
    In addition, the job of an MP should not be paid neither should expenses be paid. Charitable workers are unpaid so why should MPs be paid? In order to ensure that parliament draws people from all walks of life, people who do not have the means to support themselves can be paid, but wealthy politicians should not be.
    In addition, I think it would be a really good idea if politicians who left politics were not allowed to work for companies that are party to or are bidding for government contracts for a period of 5 years after they leave office.
  • George Savvides
    tagged this with like 2016-07-29 20:24:05 +0100
  • Don Martin
    commented 2016-07-29 20:00:51 +0100
    Silly suggestion with no benefits. Where would our “a lifetime of experience” in Parliament come from?
  • Don Martin
    tagged this with hate 2016-07-29 20:00:50 +0100
  • Anne Baldwin
    commented 2016-07-29 17:23:45 +0100
    Try asking so many voters what they think of politicians. Ending the ‘jobs for life’ image might help restore a little faith. More frequent vacancies might also help encourage diversity.
  • Bob Crossley
    commented 2016-07-29 15:35:41 +0100
    You have offered no explanation or justification for this suggestion. It’s a thoroughly bad and stupid idea and I reject it entirely.
  • Bob Crossley
    tagged this with hate 2016-07-29 15:35:40 +0100
  • Anne Baldwin
    published this page in Join the debate 2016-07-29 13:09:41 +0100