Should MPs be able to job share?
Two people who tried to stand on a job share basis to be candidates as Members of Parliament, are are seeking a judicial review of a ban on job sharing by MPs. Their names, their party and the outcome of the review (which is not yet decided) is not relevant to this opinion. However for more details, I have put a link at the end of this article.
I foresee problems with job sharing the position of an MP. For example when I vote for my MP, I vote for him or her on the basis of their opinions and principals. Any two people will always at some time have some area of disagreement, which I would not want between two people supposedly representing my interests as a voter.
For consistency they would both need exactly the same information on any particular subject, however such information is acquired and weather it be written or oral. There is a danger that in passing of oral information between themselves, one might be overly influenced by the other’s opinion, especially if one has a stronger character, or that a third party might not impart or express in the same way information to both sharers.
What might happen in the situation where the pair disagree on a vote in parliament? It was suggested that, in that situation, they should both abstain from voting. This too I do not agree with. I have no objection to a single MP abstaining on principal. I do not want two to abstain because they can not agree between themselves. Or worse, they disagree and one, because of particulary strong conviction on a topic, votes against the wishes of the other, or one of a pair abstains, what then? Even those who might support the basic idea of job sharing MPs must consider the implications of these questions.
When I cast my vote to elect a member of parliament, I want someone who will vote on their conscience and on principal. I do not want two people who may not agree and so abstain. In a parliament like we have now, where the majority is fairly slim, it can have a disproportionate effect, especially if there were multiple instances of MPs job sharing.
I would never vote for job sharing MPs, regardless of their political allegiance, whatever the decision of the review..