New MPs struggle with work/life balance - but most see politics as a long-term career
new briefing paper, A Year
in the Life: from member of public to Member of Parliament, finds long
working hours and the competing demands of Westminster and constituency are proving
detrimental to the family life of new MPs - yet despite this, most aspire to
make politics a long-term career.
from the A Year in the Life study shows:
- The 2010 new
intake of MPs initially expected a 60-hour week (plus eight hours travel)
but six months on were working a 69- hour week;
- They split
their working time 63% in Westminster and 37% in their constituencies -
but constituency casework takes up the largest share of their time (28%),
followed by constituency meetings/events (21%) and the Commons Chamber
- A vast number
of the new intake report that long working hours and
Westminster/constituency demands have a detrimental effect on their
personal and family lives - comments such as ‘overwhelming', ‘devastating'
and ‘a struggle' are common;
- Over half of
new MPs (56%) took a salary cut on becoming an MP.
research also confirms the degree to which the new MPs, who by definition were
not involved in the expenses scandal, hold the Independent Parliamentary
Standards Authority (IPSA) in low regard. Eighty-five per cent were dissatisfied
with the induction provided by IPSA at the beginning of the Parliament and six
months on 79% still said they were dissatisfied with the workings of IPSA.
this, the vast majority of new MPs don't want to give up. At the start of the
Parliament, 82% of new MPs aspired to make politics a long-term career and 55%
aspired to become a minister. A final survey at the end of the new MPs' first
year will reveal whether the reported impact on their personal lives has made
Korris, author of the paper commented:
‘These interim findings provide an early insight into the lives of the new MPs
and the challenges they face. We need effective MPs in order for Parliament and
our system of representative democracy to function successfully. These findings
- that the new MPs are working long hours to the detriment of their personal
and family lives - underscore the need for a review of the role of MPs not just
to build an improved political system, but for the very well-being of MPs
The briefing paper
Year in the Life: from member of public to Member of Parliament, is a selected summary of
interim findings of the Hansard Society's A Year in the Life project. It is based on the analysis of two surveys of the new MPs,
conducted in August 2010 and March 2011, to which approximately one
quarter of the new intake responded. The final
with a third survey, interviews and discussion groups and additional research,
will be published towards the end of 2011.
project follows an earlier Hansard Society study of the 2005 new intake
of MPs, which can be downloaded here.