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Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 14:59 GMT
Should working hours be reduced for MPs?
MPs are considering moves to a four-day week and work from 10am to 5pm under controversial plans to modernise sittings in the Commons, reports the Sunday Times.
Late-night votes and all-night debates are to be abolished by Robin Cook, the leader of the Commons and chairman of its modernisation committee.
Those in favour of the modernisation of parliament claim the current antisocial hours damage MPs' family lives and deter many women from standing for parliament.
But it has angered some MPs, who fear it could marginalise and stifle discussion on controversial bills, which can often extend into the early hours.
Do you support the proposals? Do you think the current working hours are unreasonable? Or do you think the plans will stifle political discussion?
This Talking Point was suggested by Martin, UK:
With the UK's public services etc. the way they are, is it right for MP's to go on to a (proposed) four-day week, with parliament only meeting between 10am - 5pm, Surely this is making a mockery of our system? If you have any suggestions for Talking Points, please click here.
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Surely, the whole point about MPs' hours is that they should be scrutiny friendly rather than family friendly.
Doctors already work extended hours under a lot of stress, and we get told to see more patients every day by the government. I wish we could turn around and demand normal nine to five hours like everybody else.
If the hours are so bad how is it that a number of members have the time to be MPs, members of a regional assembly, and an MEP all at the same time. I don't believe a word of the government's argument.
Chris B, England
Do you mean to tell me they actually work a five day week now? I think not. Their working hours should be in line with everyone else's.
Well, if they need to shorten their hours, then presumably they will also be cutting pay in line with this? Where in any other line of work can you imagine people who are responsible for making tough choices that will impact millions of people saying "okay it's five o'clock, lets all go home and not worry any longer about this". If you want to be an MP, accept the life that goes with it. We need to get the best people in - those willing to work the long hours. If you don't want that life, don't stand for election!
Chris Cowdery, UK
A 28 Hour week for MP's is all right if they only require that other public sector workers work the same hours. If not then they have no right to reduce their own workload.
If my work was reduced to a 4-day week then I would get paid less.
Will the Mps get paid less? No didn't think so. Typical.
Parliament says it cannot get through its agenda as it is, I can hardly see reducing the hours worked would help this. MP's already have perks way beyond the average tax payer, who incidentally is paying for their over indulgent life styles. I suggest they get back into the real world and do the job they are paid for. What will the next step be, a large cash sum, a house on a paradise island and a harem of mistresses for the duration of their term of office
John B, UK
Are they taking a massive pay cut as well? Who wouldn't want a 4-day working week and a 7 hour day? They are supposedly running our country - late night debates are part of it, and they all new that when they decided to become MP's. Ask the police or doctors/nurses what they think about this.
Great, can I now ask that the MPs vote for the same hours for us ordinary workers (or will that be considered unproductive?)
What a surprise! Does this mean that the MPs are going to fund the rest of business so that everyone can work only 4 days a week? I doubt it. The rest of us have to work antisocial hours so why should they get out of it!
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Andy W, UK
No. They get paid enough (55k or so, plus perks and expenses) to do a full week's work. Everyone knows that MPs have to work late sometimes in debates and votes. They went for the job in spite of it. Let them take the rough with the smooth like the rest of us do.
I'm not impressed by these proposals at all. Running the country is a very serious business and office hours don't apply. I work in IT and I'm frequently expected to work late when projects need to be delivered or changes need to be made that can only be done outside of normal working hours. I'd like to think the job of running Great Britain was more important than anything I'm required to do.
If MP's spent less time trying to score points over each other & more time concentrating on the business in hand then there would be no need for late night debates. It's high time they all stopped acting like juveniles & realised that the public, who are their bosses, expect them to do a real job, put the hours in and produce beneficial results for the country. That is what they are there for & their lack of perception in understanding that is why half the population cannot be bothered to vote anymore, because they don't take MP's seriously.
Working 4 days a week 10 till 5 is a great idea. Why don't we all do it?
There is a lot more to being an MP than sitting in the House of Commons. If a more sensible regime in the House leaves MPs with more time to work for their constituents then that is a good thing.
I have never thought it sensible that our laws are made at two o'clock in the morning!
My husband works for an American company, he often starts work before 8am and holds telephone meetings with America well into the evening. These are part of his job description. He knew this when he accepted the job, hence if he wanted to reduce his hours his pay would also be reduced.
A 28 hour week, long summer holidays, a job for life (in safe seats) and set your own rate of pay - with all these perks and privileges you'd think that we could attract some decent and capable people into politics rather than the bunch of baying layabouts we have now.
Qadeer, London, UK
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