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Hugo Swire:  Being an MP isn’t a job and there’s plenty of time to do other jobs

Thursday, 06 April 2017 5 Comments by Claire

See Mr Swire’s latest rather surprising blog here -


1. At 12:59 pm on 06th Apr Tim wrote:

And of course, you can also hire the wife, at public expense,  to do the work you don’t have time for.

2. At 02:11 pm on 06th Apr Paul F wrote:

I think this says more about Hugo Swine than it does about George Obnoxious. Let’s disect what Our Hugo has said:

1. Conflicts of interest are OK – providing they are “unreeled” whatever that means. Later he says that you can’t have a job when you are a minister because of conflicts of interest – presumably meaning that when you are a back-bencher, a job cannot be a conflict of interest. Oops – which is it Hugo?

Later he goes on to say “Should proprietors not have a right to appoint who they see fit as editor, without the executive or anyone interfering in that decision”. What? Regardless of conflicts of interest? Leaving aside issues of revolving doors, this is not about whether a newspaper proprietor can make a job offer to an MP – it is about whether the MP should resign if he wants to take up the post!!

2. Its OK for an ex-Chancellor to put in no more hours representing his constituency than when he was the Chancellor. (Being a minister was Hugo’s excuse for not spending time representing constituents- when he became a back bench MP he promised to do more to represent his constituents, but actually he would rather e.g. promote tourism for his friends in the Middle-East than promote tourism in his own constituency. So we shouldn’t be surprised at this one.)

Indeed he goes on to list the jobs George Obnoxious did when he was Chancellor – but one not on the list was Constituency MP. So zero hours as constituency then, and its OK for him not to put more hours into constituency matters now he is a back-bencher.

3. He thinks that people will be deterred from going into politics by the scrutiny. Well – what he means is that he would be deterred by the scrutiny if he was thinking about starting in politics, perhaps because he has so much to hide and so many conflicts of interest – conflicting that is with what should be his sole interest namely what is best for his constituents.

There are undoubtedly people who would like to enter politics and would be happy for their lives to be scrutinised – because they have nothing to hide – like Claire Wright for instance.

4. George is “more of a figurehead” in all the roles he is taking – yet George is “criticised for going out to work rather than being a political class”. Hugo can;t have it both ways – either George is taking on real jobs or he isn’t.

Later he eloquently argues that being a back-bench MP is NOT a full time job. If that is really the case, then great – let’s cut MPs salaries by half to reflect this.

5. THE BEST ONE – “A back bencher’s task is to represent his or her constituents, make laws and hold the Government to account.” Talk about hypocrisy – Hugo is too busy representing his friends in the Middle East to bother about his constituents. He will of course point to the debates in Westminster Hall that he sponsored as proof of his holding the Government to account, but aside from this little piece of ineffective puff that the government simply ignored there is nothing. He barely mentioned the NHS in parliament, and hasn’t achieved anything to stop the carnage. Indeed he already has an extremely well tanned proboscis from all his cow-towing in the hope that someone might someday give him a ministerial job again, and I doubt it is possible for him to hold the government any less to account.

As for MP’s making laws, nothing could be further from the truth. The government makes laws, and the whips ensure that MPs vote for it. Private members bills, like the NHS Reinstatement Bill, might qualify for “MPs making laws” if it wasn’t for the government ruthlessly killing them off e.g. by persuading MPs to filibuster.

6. He says MPs need to be “accessible”, perhaps for example by living in their constituency or having an office in the constituency . Ooops – of course he doesn’t have either of these.

7. He says its OK to have a wide range of interests other than being an MP if you “manage your time efficiently”. Given the issues facing our country today – and even if we limit that to East Devon there are still huge issues – you would think there would not be enough hours in the day to solve all of them. So apparently, “managing your time efficiently” means doing the minimum you can get away with for your constituents.

8. Then he effectively whines about “unelected” Standards Bodies holding MPs to account. Although not the most hypocritical comment, this is perhaps the one that demonstrates his true thinking – that once the electorate has voted you in you can do what you like and shouldn’t be held to account until the next election.

9. He ends up with two quotes justifying why MPs should live in the real word and have real jobs – thus deflecting the focus away from how many jobs George Obnoxious has competing with his time acting as a constituency MP and away from the specific job with its huge conflicts of interest.

SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT, Hugo’s beliefs about how MPs can spent as few hours representing constituents as they can get away with, have as many other jobs and interests as they like regardless of conflicts of interest, and should not be held to any standards in public life and should not be scrutinised.

3. At 10:11 am on 07th Apr Alison Hollow wrote:

Having moved away from East Devon last year, I can only say “thank goodness this man isn’t my MP anymore”.  Keep up all your good work Claire -  East Devon needs you. Regards Alison

4. At 10:23 am on 07th Apr Paul F wrote:

Tim - you can even hire your wife at public expense to do the jobs that you DO have time for in order to increase how much your family get paid.

5. At 01:45 pm on 18th Apr David Hicks wrote:

Are we going for it again Claire on 8th June 2017? I think it’s time our Hugo was compulsorily retired.

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