Austin Mitchell’s Advice For New MPs

Freed from the shackles of parliament, the famously reticent Austin Mitchell can now tell us what he really thinks. Here is his sage advice for new MPs in House magazine:

On staff

“Employ, say, three staff and keep them in the constituency where wages are lower, with only one in London to handle the parliamentary side, persuading him or her to work for free on the grounds that they’re being trained for a seat of their own.”

On your constituency

“Constituents are a grudging lot and the people that turn to you for help are so clueless that they probably don’t vote anyway. It’s appearances that count, not work or surgeries.”

“The days when you’d get away with a monthly visit – still less a yearly visit – are gone. You’ve got to live there, or pretend to… so create the impression that you’re constantly in your constituency without wasting too much of your time by being there.”

On the general public

“You can’t call anyone snobs, plods, plebs or scroungers – even if they manifestly are.”

At least he learned something in his 28 years in Westminster…




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Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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