By Daena Danskin
Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour’s parliamentary business spokesman, has launched a member’s bill to outlaw second jobs, limit the time MSPs can spend on lucrative external activities and cap additional earnings.
Politicians who earn thousands upon thousands on top of their £61,000 Holyrood salaries will face parliamentary scrutiny amid cross-party calls for them to ditch their second jobs.
MSP’s face a potential ban from having second jobs following Neil Findlay lodging a Member’s Bill on Friday at Holyrood calling on a ban to prevent conflicts of interest and the misuse of MSPs’ time for financial gain.
MSPs could be banned from having a second job under proposals which will be considered at the Scottish Parliament.
The SNP has said that it backs the idea of politicians focused only on representing their constituents and it will examine the detail of the bill.
He said: “MSPs are elected to serve the people and in most cases that is exactly what they do. Sadly in a number of cases, some MSPs have stretched the limits of acceptability and caused harm to the reputation of the Parliament.”
“My bill is intended to put an end to MSPs taking a healthy wage from the public purse and then earning thousands on top when they should be serving their constituents.”
“It does not seek to ban all outside interests outright. This isn’t about stopping MSPs using their expertise, it’s about making sure they are best used in the Parliament, for the people.”
The ban could potentially pull back some faith in both MSP’s and MP’s alike following previous accusations about selfish spending and frivolous expenditure in the past.
“Trust in politicians, governments and the wider political process is, arguably, at an all-time low.”
Neil Findlay’s efforts to raise the level of trust within the government are seemingly welcomed by the general public. Having MSP’s with a sole focus on their parliamentary career may increase taxpayers trust in what they are paying for with their money.
Though data on the Scottish Parliament is thin, a 2015 survey of the UK showed that the public were overwhelmingly against their political representatives having second jobs.
Unsurprisingly, public reaction to the matter suggests that Scottish people are in favour of the new bill and think it would prevent conflicting interests and gain wider public trust and support.