On Thursday 7th May 2015, there will be a general election in the UK.
And then, short of hugely unlikely circumstances, there will not be another general election til 7th May 2020. (Or, with the approval of the House of Commons, any time up to two months later.)
There can only be a general election earlier than 7th May 2020 if either a majority vote in the Commons agrees “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government” and a saving majority is not found within fourteen days: or if at least 434 MPs vote to call an early parliamentary general election.
Neither is a likely option. If a party can command the loyalty of 434 MPs they have a 109+ majority in the Commons and are very unlikely to want an early general election.
MPs need to be able to do their jobs.
They get paid a very substantial salary – even if the MP is the only employed adult in the household, even if they have four children under 13 and a huge council tax bill, £64K still puts them into the top 20%. They can well afford to pay for their own meals: subsistence allowance should not be payable.
Have some experience of something other than political work. All parties should have a basic guideline: to pass for selection, a prospective candidate has to have spent a minimum of five years since they left full-time education doing something that has no direct connection with party political work.
Not that this will necessarily save us from the likes of Iain Duncan Smith or Chris Grayling. But right now the most direct way for someone who wants to become an MP someday to get there is to head into party politics as soon after leaving Oxbridge as they can. Oh yeah, and getting to go to Oxbridge also helps.
So herewith my seven-point plan for fixing the gravy train that is MP expenses… by the same means used for years to ensure that a person receiving an unemployment benefit or a work perk in a normal job doesn’t use it as a gravy train.