Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Life after Westminster – what MPs do after leaving office

25.10.2007
"There's nothing so ex- as an ex-MP", it is often said.

In a major study, a team at the University of Leeds sought to find out whether this is true by asking more than 180 former MPs about aspects of their post-Parliamentary life including how difficult it is to find a job, the support they receive from their political party and how it feels to lose their seat.

The study found some former MPs struggled to find work and many earned less after leaving the House of Commons. Around half of those who did not retire voluntarily from the Commons said it had taken three to six months to find a new job. Just one fifth said they were able to find work immediately or almost immediately. One in seven took over a year to find employment.

The report provides important new evidence about the social and psychological effects and consequences of being defeated in an election or retiring from Parliament. Some 60% of respondents had retired voluntarily while 40% had been defeated at a general election. Two fifths said they were making less money than when in Parliament, with one fifth earning "about the same". One third said they were financially better off after losing their seats or standing down.

Study co-author Professor Kevin Theakston of the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Leeds said the findings are at odds with public perceptions that MPs are able to walk into lucrative jobs after Parliament.

"There has always been anecdotal evidence of ex-MPs who have suffered nervous breakdowns, marriage break-ups, depression, alcoholism, and serious debts problems," he said.

"But our project is important because there has been virtually no systematic research into these issues - into what happens to former MPs and into the experience of leaving parliament. Politics is a non-commercial career and our report shows that the idea that there are hundreds of ex-MPs walking into cushy and lucrative jobs is rubbish."

The report also found that many had difficulty adapting to life in the outside world, and felt isolated from the political party to which they had devoted much of their lives. Just over a quarter of former MPs said that they were able to return to the career or employment they had had before entering the House of Commons. But a third said they were not able to pick up their former careers or jobs.

One survey respondent said: "New jobs are not easy to come by." Another said: "Many MPs do not appreciate their skills on entering parliament will not be and are not relevant when they leave."

The report, Life after Losing or Leaving: The experience of former members of Parliament, was co-authored by Professor Kevin Theakston, Dr Ed Gouge and Dr Victoria Honeyman of the School of Politics and International Studies.

One third of the MPs who left Parliament as a result of losing an election had not expected to lose, according to the report’s findings. One MP who was defeated in the 2005 election described it as feeling like being "cut off at the knees".

Many former MPs miss not being at the centre of British politics. One said: "I would wake up in the morning, listen to the radio, and form views on the issues of the day and then I realised that no one wanted to know what I thought."

A number of respondents felt that political parties should do more to help defeated MPs in adjusting and finding employment. More than half of the former MPs reported that they were politically active in the local area where they lived now.

Professor Theakston said: "The report will help puncture media and popular myths of the 'political gravy train' variety by showing what the real situation is in terms of former MPs' employment, earnings, pensions and so on."

Guy Dixon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Reading rats’ minds
29.11.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Small but ver­sat­ile; key play­ers in the mar­ine ni­tro­gen cycle can util­ize cy­anate and urea

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

New method gives microscope a boost in resolution

10.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Carnegie Mellon researchers probe hydrogen bonds using new technique

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>