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‘Politicians should rely on taxpayer’ says New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne
9:49am Monday 29th June 2009 in News
A Hampshire MP has defiantly insisted politicians should have second jobs after details of his extra earnings were published.
In a new wave of revelations about outside earnings, New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne was revealed to earn £12,000 a year as a director of a property development firm.
Conservative Mr Swayne also makes around £5,000 in his role as a major in the Territorial Army (TA), while an MP’s basic salary is £61,820.
But the MP has passionately defended the importance of second jobs.
He said: “My argument is it makes you a more effective MP.
“I do not want a Parliament composed of professional politicians reliant on the taxpayer and the allowances they have become accustomed to.
“Being out of touch with reality does not create a good Parliament.
“The last thing I want is people who have never done anything other than politics.
“This whole brouhaha is absolutely absurd.”
Mr Swayne’s interest in the Lewis Charles Sofia Property Fund, which specialises predominantly in holiday developments in Bulgaria, extends to “two to three hours a week”.
This mainly involves conference calls or exchanging documents, and works out at around £80 an hour.
The TA pay covers the minimum requirement of 19 days’ service a year.
Mr Swayne also argued that MPs earning through second jobs was no different to Government ministers being paid extra for their role.
He said: “What is the difference in principle between Govern-ment ministers being paid an extra salary and earning it through private sector roles?”
New rules due to be brought in this week will require all MPs to declare how much they earn from second jobs, the number of hours they devote to them and the nature of the work.
Last week it was revealed that Mr Swayne was among a host of MPs who had repaid some of the money he claimed on expenses.
It confirmed that he had repaid £6,131 he claimed for a new kitchen in 2006 and £60.66 overclaimed for a water bill.
It was also reported that House of Commons staff are urgently investigating why sections of his expenses are missing from official records.
A Commons spokesman admitted that a year’s worth of claims, 2004/5 made by Mr Swayne are absent from the thousands of documents uploaded on to Parliament’s official website last week.
Among other claims under Mr Swayne’s additional costs allowance which was designed to enable MPs to maintain a second home which totalled £73,207 over four years, was £1,087 to cover the annual service charge on his flat.
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