Could the UK's MP's work on a job-share basis? Meg Hillier, Labour MP for Hackney South debates the possibility with David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West.
There was a letter to The Guardian about getting MPs to job-share to get more women into Parliament. Would this widen the talent pool? Could this work in the world of politics?
Justin Webb conducts the interview.
There is no reason why two sensible people can't work out how to job share as an MP and present it to the electorate as an option.
On the practical side of it, two people present themselves as a duo at an election, saying "We know each other, we trust each other. This is our programme together. Obviously and we support the same political party. The people may cast one vote, but it is for those two people.
Exactly. You see that already in East London Primary Care Trust. Presumably they both had to go to the interview for the job. Similarly, there was a senior job in planning in local government where two women applied. It is more often women than men that job-share of course but not necessarily that. I don't see why two practical people couldn't work out these issues about how they balance the work.
When I first heard this suggestion, I thought it was April Fool's Day. Unless I have misunderstood the concept, I think it is absolutely raving bonkers.
This isn't the job that is appropriate for job-sharing, frankly. Members of Parliament are elected through the democratic process and incidentally, we are trying to reduce the number of MPs not double them.
But you would still be elected democratically as Meg Hillier has just pointed out.
But you'd have double the number of MPs when everyone's complaining that we have too many politicians we want less politicians. How would you get a couple of potential Members of Parliament to have the same views on everything? It's crazy!
Meg Hillier, there is an issue of co-operation, isn't there, as there is in job's that are shared. In politics where there is such a broad area of life you are looking at there will be areas that people even if they are in the same party might disagree and it might confuse people.
Let's be honest, David, both of us vote on the whipped line of the party we represent. In the 7 years that I have been MP there have been 3 maybe 4 votes. If you're not telling me that 2 sensible people couldn't work out an approach on how to deal with that as those issues arise ...
[Which is why Peter Bone MP's House of Commons Disqualification Bill http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2010/10/peter-bone-seeks-to-abolish-the-flatterers-cajolers-and-sometime-bullies-that-are-the-party-whips.html should have been passed, but even my Tory MP was too lazy and thick to grasp its implications ie that this means all votes would be free votes.]
What if one of you wanted to rebel and the other didn't on an important government issue?
Then you would have to negotiate round that. The idea that MPs can still kid themselves that our job is somehow so special and so different that the rules of the real world do not apply to us I think that is bonkers. We really need to make sure that the best practice that is out there in other roles and we apply it to us. In the end being MP is a job, a very privileged job, but in the end a job like any other.
David Amess, it is a way of getting in talent that isn't there at the moment ... ?
This would really not be the approach and I really disagree with Meg. I think our job has already been dumbed down - huge damage has been done - and to double the number of elected representatives ...
I don't think every MP in the House of Commons would go for a job-share right now. We are really talking about a small number of people who might try this.
This is even more crazy. For some constituencies where you might have MPs who job-share ...?! This is really not like an ordinary job, Meg! You say it is, but it isn't, but this is what has gone wrong with democracy at the moment but ...
[Interview ends after Meg Hillier makes some stupid egalitarian pronouncement: "The more we say we are different and special, the more" I couldn't catch the rest.]
David Amess sounded like one those mad callers from a radio phone-in while Meg Hillier sounded like one of the guests. He was expostulating with outrage from some phone line somewhere while she was in the studio, her voice was clear, and on first name terms with "Justin" even as she was talking arrant pernicious nonsense.
Still she carried the dumbed down public, judging by the tweets about the exchange at https://twitter.com/i/#!/search/?q=David+Amess&src=typd
Of course she would be on Twitter while he would be too elderly and technophobic to do anything like that.
If I were advising politician, I would advise no politician to ever go on air if he would go on air calling from a bad phone line while his detractor is speaking calmly and clearly in the studio while being on first name terms with the host of the radio show.
This is of course a transparent attempt to double the number of female MPs so we can all die of feminism more quickly.
Do not forget, dear reader, every day in every way the feminists are putting more ground glass into our food that we gobble down so greedily.
Perhaps it is better for us that death should come sooner rather than later.