Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

McDonnell calls for MPs to be allowed to job-share

Parliament should introduce a job-sharing arrangement to allow two MPs to represent some constituencies, Labour backbencher John McDonnell has said.

Introducing his Representation of the People (Members' Job Share) Bill to the Commons on 20 November 2012, Mr McDonnell said other public services and businesses were embracing the idea of job-sharing and it was time politics followed suit.

Under his plans, each of the job-sharing MPs would be entitled to a half-vote on legislation and Commons motions.

"There is substantial evidence that job-sharing actually is more productive than the employment of individuals," the MP for Hayes and Harlington said.

He urged MPs not to be the "last bastion standing against a measure" which would help women, disabled people, and carers stand for Parliament.

But his plan was ridiculed by Conservative MP David Nuttall.

"There is nothing I have heard today which suggests this idea, even if it could ever be made into a practical possibility, would produce the desired result," he said.

"The plan to have a Parliament made up of Tweedledees and Tweedledums would open up a constitutional can of worms, and for what?"

He added: "This proposal starts off as a politically-correct attempt to increase diversity but ends up as being a potentially very dangerous attempt at constitutional meddling which would break the historic link between an MP and their constituency."

The bill was given a first reading without a vote but stands little chance of becoming law.

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