The role of an MP
MPs represent the interests of the constituency that elects them, acting as a figurehead for that area and raising their concerns in parliament. There are over six hundred constituencies in the UK and there is one MP to represent each. Once elected a MP can be expected to participate in parliamentary debates and vote on legislation and other matters; they can become part of committees that examine the work of government departments or look at the implimentation of new laws. MP’s can also become a minister in government or a spokesperson for the opposition. An MP is expected to represent their political party not only in their constituency but in the House Of Commons aswell, voting on matters accordingly.
To be eligible to become an MP you must:
• Be eighteen years or older at the time of your election.
• Be a British citizen, or a citizen of a commonwealth country or the republic of Ireland.
• Be nominated by three Parliamentary electors from the constituency you wish to represent
• To be officially standing for a political party you must seek authorisation from that party. If you are not representing a party you will be standing as an independant.
• Be able to pay the £500 deposit designed to encourage only serious candidates to stand for office. This may be covered by your party if you are representing them, and is returned if you receive over 5% of the vote.
• Not be a subject of bankruptcy.
• Have no criminal record, or history of fraud in election campaigns.
• Not be employeed by the crown, for instance a civil servant.
Follow our nine steps to find out how to get elected as a Conservative MP
1) The first step is to get in touch with your Local Conservatives. It is important to volunteer to help with any upcoming electoral campaign. Other tips to raising your profile as a potential MP include becoming a Council candidate and committing to local charities and organisations. This will serve to demonstrate your affiliation to public service and the Party.
2) Consider any weaknesses that you may need to work on before summiting your CV – there may be areas of training that you need to focus on such as Public Speaking.
3) The first official step is to join the approved list of candidates. However, before doing so, be certain that this is the right step for you. Becoming an MP is a full time commitment; you must be prepared that if you become a Candidate you may be sent to live in a constituency far away from your current home. Ask yourself: are you willing to uproot yourself as well as your family’s life? Furthermore consider whether your profession would stop you from spending the necessary amount of time on a gruelling campaign trail.
4) If becoming an MP is the job for you then you must write to CCHQ setting out why you would like to be a candidate; be certain to enclose a copy of your CV.
5) As previously state you are more likely to be accepted if you have demonstrated an affiliation to the party, worked for your local community, so include any previous work that demonstrates how you would be a capable MP in your covering letter and CV
6) To proceed from this stage you will need three referees – these references should be able to prove your professional capabilities as well as your strong character traits.
7) Once these references have been checked and approved then you will be eligible for the next step: Parliamentary Association Board (PAB). For this there is a fee of £250 and you must have been a signed up member of the Conservative Party for at least 3 months.
8) The PAB is comparable to the interview stages of a regular job. It takes the form of a day long assessment by MPs and senior Party Members who then make the final decision as to whether your name will be added to the Approved List of Candidates.
9) Once approved Candidates prepare themselves for the next General Election, they must find a vacant constituency in order to stand to be elected. This will mean competing against other approved candidates to be selected by Local Associations as their representative. It is probable that current MPs will be more likely to win the safer party seats and thus new candidates will most likely have to fight in multiple constituencies for this opportunity.
What to expect once you’ve been elected
Terms of office:
Once an elected MP you can expect to stay in this role until the next General Election is called. The maximum gap between elections is 5 years. If you were elected to become an MP during a by-election then you will still have to run in the next General Election.
Code of Conduct:
As with any job there are obviously circumstances in which your job can be terminated, for example by breaching the MPs Code of Conduct. To find out more about this then please click on the following link: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmcode/735/735.pdf
There is no doubt that being an MP is a full time job. There are many reasons an MP will be found up and about before the crack of dawn. Early morning TV and Radio interviews on the Breakfast Radio, or a long journey back to your constituency in order to be present for an important local event are to name just a few. Furthermore, commitments in the House of Commons may mean being available far into the night, whilst the house is still sitting. The weekend’s offer little respite; they will usually be spent in the constituency dealing with local affairs and functions. Although it is certainly a full time commitment most MPs will say it is a rewarding lifestyle.
For up to date information about the salary, pensions and allowances available to MPs please click on the following link: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/M05.pdf
Role within the party:
Once elected MPs must remember they have been elected and selected in order to represent the Conservative Party. They are expected to become key players within the party and work hard to promote the Party’s profile. However, they are also there to represent the needs of their constituents and must do so to the best of their ability.