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New jobs for all ages of MPs after the General Election

by on May 11, 2015

Having covered a number of age-related aspects of the election campaign, we can’t leave that behind without a quick look at some age at work stories from the actual election.

Most noticeable perhaps is that of newly elected Mhairi Black, the 20-year old public policy student who beat Douglas Alexander to become the youngest Westminster MP since the 17th century. Profiled here in The Independent, she is one of the 56 MPs from the Scottish National Party, but her youth and high profile defeat of Labour’s shadow foreign secretary by 5,684 votes has garnered much media attention. The article reports that she “hadn’t given much thought” to the £67,060 salary she will now receive for her Westminster job and comments that this is a ‘remarkable’ but ‘reasonable’ sum for a 20-year-old who is an elected representative of the people.

The other more general observation relates to those that lost their seats, including well-known figures such as Ed Balls (48) and Vince Cable (72). This morning’s BBC Today programme interviewed two former MPs who lost their seats in the 2010 election about the experience and how they coped (a podcast of this is available via this link). Claire Ward and Andy Reed (who were about 38 and 46 respectively when they found themselves out of a job) describe the sense of initial bereavement, perhaps more acute where the job has been a way of life, and the extent to which Westminster is an old-fashioned employer that doesn’t prepare you well for the wider labour market. Happily, these two at least have found roles into which to transfer their skills.

We don’t know what Ed Balls and others out of a parliamentary job are planning to do next but The Mirror, not very nicely, suggests that Vince Cable ‘appears to be sitting at home, jobless, spending a Saturday afternoon trying to set a new world record for the number of consecutive tweeted thank yous‘ to those who had sent him messages of support. Well, let’s hope that all those seeking new jobs (not just ex-MPs) at whatever age don’t encounter such mean-spirited responses.

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