What happens when you have a multi-tasking absent MP

Relax, Mr Swire – it’s your pal not you – yet! But it does make us think …

MP George Osborne has refused to meet with a group of local constituents as he is too busy writing his book.

Wilmslow resident Stuart Regard recently contacted the Tatton MP to request a meeting to discuss the future of Britain after Brexit.

Mr Redgard, along with some other local residents is a member of the campaign group 38 Degrees, whose 300 members have drawn up a document entitled ‘The People Powered Vision for Brexit’.

He wrote to George Osborne on 20th February saying “We’ve voted on our main hopes and concerns for when we leave the EU casting over ten million votes between us. We would really welcome the opportunity to discuss this document with you and get your opinion on the views of hundreds of thousands of people.”

38 Degrees members across the UK have been meeting their MPs to discuss the ‘People Powered Vision for Brexit’. We understand Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt and Philip Hammond are among the MPs who have read and discussed the document with their own constituents.

Mr Redgard continued “We are happy to meet with you at a regular surgery appointment, but would also welcome having a longer meeting with you if you’re able to accommodate this. Ideally there will be between four and five of us in attendance with an even split of Leave and Remain voters.”

Zoë Lord, from George Osborne’s office, responded on 7th March saying “Thank you for contacting Mr Osborne. Sadly, his diary is very committed as he is writing his book to a deadline. Unfortunately, we cannot arrange a time for you to meet just now.”

Mr Regard commented “I think this just represents his severe under performance in representing his constituents.” …”


and here is how he explains himself to his hapless constituents:

After all that you have read over the recent days about my new role as editor of the Evening Standard, I want to talk directly to you, my constituents.

It is the greatest honour to be your Member of Parliament, elected by you to represent our community here in Cheshire and take part in the national debate about the great issues Britain faces.

For sixteen years I have done that – thanks to your growing support at each election – and with your help we have achieved some major successes. We’ve stopped the closure of the A&E Department at Macclesfield District Hospital, not once but twice. We’ve got the Alderley Edge bypass built, after people had been trying for 70 years. We’ve improved the direct train services, got great new facilities for our academy schools, and brought new businesses and new jobs to the area. Throughout that time I’ve been able to help countless local people privately with their individual problems in the surgeries I’ve held and the efforts of my hard-working team in the office.

For almost all of those sixteen years, I have also held prominent positions in the public life of the country. For five years I was Shadow Chancellor. For these last six years I was Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was a real privilege to hold one of the great offices of state but it is also one of the most demanding jobs in the country – working dawn to dusk, and on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Throughout that time I was there for you as your local MP.

Now I have left Downing Street I want to continue to take part in the debate about the future direction of our country. No longer being Chancellor gives me time to do that in other ways – yes, in the Chamber of the House of Commons; but also as the editor of a major newspaper, the Evening Standard. There is a long tradition of politics and journalism mixing. One of the greatest newspaper editors ever, CP Scott, combined editing the Manchester Guardian with being an MP. In our age, politicians from Iain Macleod and Richard Crossman to, of course, Boris Johnson have combined the role of editor and Member of Parliament.

Meanwhile the hard work in the constituency continues unaffected. Take this week alone. I’ve been helping the schools in Cheshire get a fairer deal out of the proposed new funding formula. I’ll be helping to officially open the new A556 link road – badly needed for decades, yet only delivered now because of my campaign and our collective hard work. I’ll be at the opening of another new business here, speaking at a fundraising dinner for a great local charity and holding my regular constituency surgery. It is all in a week’s work as your MP.

I will also be in Manchester to promote our efforts to build the Northern Powerhouse – a concept I launched two years ago and which it is one of my jobs now to promote through the new partnership we have created. Nothing has greater potential to improve the opportunities for the future in this area than that Northern Powerhouse

I believe this diversity of experience makes our Parliament stronger. I hope you agree and I look forward to continuing to hear what you have to say and to work with you on the problems we face and the great future we can all build.

Best wishes, George.


One thought on “What happens when you have a multi-tasking absent MP

  1. So George now has 4 jobs:

    * Book author – as time permits, but with a deadline looming presumably this takes several days a week
    * Editor of a newspaper – full time employee
    * Consultant to a financial services company – one day a week
    * MP – full time

    But it appears that the first has greatest priority, and these are listed in descending priority.

    The first three jobs would seem to take possibly 9 or 10 working days a week, leaving … um … MINUS days per week to be an MP.

    If he were in any other job and either didn’t turn up or turned up too exhausted to perform his job, he would be fired.

    Just exactly when will the parliamentary standards committees step in and stop this sort of abuse of privilege – both in terms of his having time to do his job as an MP and regarding the MASSIVE conflicts of interest these represent?


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