Sherwood MP Mark Spencer has, for the second time in a month, faced criticism for comments he made in Parliament.
Following earlier criticism by disability campaigners after he suggested problems with the education system are to blame for some disabilities, Mr Spencer once again faced criticism yesterday during a debate about MP’s second jobs outside Parliament.
The urgent debate saw MPs voting on a Labour proposal to bar MPs, who receive a salary of £67,060 per year, from earning extra cash on the side through paid directorships or consultancies.
Speaking in the debate, Mr Spencer, who is the director of a garden centre company and a partner in a farming business in addition to his role as MP for Sherwood, said in the debate: “Members of Parliament should be allowed to do whatever they want to do, in whatever role they want to do it in and with whatever money they want to earn elsewhere.” He added that he felt the proposed rules were “trapping me”.
Mr Spencer chose to ignore an instant critical reaction to his comments on social media and voted against the ban on second jobs.
Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Sherwood, Léonie Mathers, said a change in the rules would be the right thing to do, and has promised not to take any second job if she is elected in May.
Ms Mathers said:
“At a time when local people and the services we rely on are facing unprecedented challenges, the suggestion that MPs can’t afford to live on a salary three times the average for our area is staggeringly out of touch.
“If I’m elected MP for Sherwood, that will be my only job, and I’d support a change in the law to make that official. Our MP should be focused on serving people round here. It’s a privilege and an honour and if Mark Spencer feels trapped by that, he needs to move on and do something else.”