Jet setting MPs should cut down on foreign trips

November 26, 2012 2:57 PM

Friday's Independent carried details of globe-trotting MPs leaving their constituencies without representation for long periods of time. Mark Hendrick MP spent over 100 days outside the country and at one point spent a month in Beijing learning Mandarin.

Some foreign travel may be justifiable in the interests of informing an MP’s work on a specific policy area or geographical region. But it would seem that some need reminding that they are elected to look after the interests of their constituents both locally and in Parliament - and being on the other side of the world makes that task somewhat harder.

Another case raised by the Independent was Barry Gardiner MP, who spent 73 days out of the country. He is Ed Miliband’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and the Environment and visited Berlin, Cape Town, Cape Town again, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro (twice), Venice, Warsaw, Washington, New York, Mexico City, Japan and China. It seems strange that there were no other more energy efficient alternatives to all this air travel...

Indeed, politicians and bureaucrats working on climate change seem to be fond of taking lots of flights, despite the emissions. Our research earlier this month showed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is fond of a flight or two as well, including the occasional trip on business class.

David Miliband MP, who stated after failing to win the Labour leadership that his constituency, “South Shields comes first”, managed to spend 47 days out of the country with a total of 14 foreign trips. There are of course times when foreign trips are necessary, but excessive time overseas impedes the very job our MPs are paid to do.

The issue of adequate representation has been brought to public attention this last fortnight by Nadine Dorries MP, who gallivanted off to Australia for her cringeworthy appearance on a I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. All the while, her constituents were left without a parliamentary representative.


Taxpayers have very real and pressing concerns. They pay for MPs to represent them in Parliament. A few necessary trips aside, MPs should be in their constituency or at Parliament as often as possible.

Friday's Independent carried details of globe-trotting MPs leaving their constituencies without representation for long periods of time. Mark Hendrick MP spent over 100 days outside the country and at one point spent a month in Beijing learning Mandarin.

Some foreign travel may be justifiable in the interests of informing an MP’s work on a specific policy area or geographical region. But it would seem that some need reminding that they are elected to look after the interests of their constituents both locally and in Parliament - and being on the other side of the world makes that task somewhat harder.

Another case raised by the Independent was Barry Gardiner MP, who spent 73 days out of the country. He is Ed Miliband’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and the Environment and visited Berlin, Cape Town, Cape Town again, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro (twice), Venice, Warsaw, Washington, New York, Mexico City, Japan and China. It seems strange that there were no other more energy efficient alternatives to all this air travel...

Indeed, politicians and bureaucrats working on climate change seem to be fond of taking lots of flights, despite the emissions. Our research earlier this month showed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is fond of a flight or two as well, including the occasional trip on business class.

David Miliband MP, who stated after failing to win the Labour leadership that his constituency, “South Shields comes first”, managed to spend 47 days out of the country with a total of 14 foreign trips. There are of course times when foreign trips are necessary, but excessive time overseas impedes the very job our MPs are paid to do.

The issue of adequate representation has been brought to public attention this last fortnight by Nadine Dorries MP, who gallivanted off to Australia for her cringeworthy appearance on a I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. All the while, her constituents were left without a parliamentary representative.


Taxpayers have very real and pressing concerns. They pay for MPs to represent them in Parliament. A few necessary trips aside, MPs should be in their constituency or at Parliament as often as possible.

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