Brit MPs struggle to find work after leaving office, says varsity study

November 14th, 2007 - 2:48 am ICT by admin  
According to a study conducted by the university, some former MPs struggled to find work, while others 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 percent of respondents had retired voluntarily while 40 percent 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.

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.”

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.

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. (ANI)

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