Rebecca Taylor was MEP for Yorkshire and Humber from 2012-2014. To see Rebecca's latest activity, you can follow her on Twitter at @rtaylor_libdem.

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MPs should focus on being MPs!


I was a Member of the European Parliament for two and a half years during which time I worked on average 6 days a week, including some rather unsocial hours. Sunday was usually my only proper day off and I often did some catching up on emails that day.
The job of course also involved a great deal of travel, mainly between Leeds and Brussels, but also across the Yorkshire and Humber region and to Strasbourg once a month. I didn’t have much time for family and friends and many complained to me about this.
The life of an MP is similar (although possibly with less travel). I know MPs who work 80 hours a week pretty much on a permanent basis. I therefore struggle to comprehend how an MP has the time for a second job.
If they have time for another job, what are they not doing as an MP as a consequence? Perhaps they only show up to very few parliamentary debates, hold few or no constituency surgeries, don’t visit local businesses, schools and colleges and rarely venture out to meet their constituents? And if they’re not working full-time as an MP, why are they receiving a full-time salary?
Any MP foolish enough to claim they need to earn extra money because £67k isn’t enough to live on (yes Malcolm Rifkind I’m talking to you!), is so out of touch with ordinary life they deserve all the criticism they get. I managed to live in London, the most expensive city in the UK, on a bit more than a third of an MP’s salary. Doing so did require careful budgeting (my top tips: walk or cycle to work, take a packed lunch every day and never buy take away coffee), but it is possible and many people do it. In fact, many people manage on less.
I understand that some MPs earned considerably more before they entered politics and if that is the case, then good for them for making a choice to earn less in order to take up public office. That is not however, a justification for a 2ndjob/outside consultancy work.
I do however understand that for MPs in certain professions, e.g. the medical profession, there may be a need to undertake training/education or even some professional practice in order to remain qualified and able to practice. I think it’s fair enough to allow an MP time for such activities, but I strongly suspect they don’t come to anything like the time commitment of a 2nd job.
I am uncomfortable about an MP being paid for advice on matters that relate to parliamentary business. As an MEP, when I met with representatives of businesses, charities, NGOs, industry associations, public sector bodies etc, they often asked whether their organisation’s aims in their campaign/concerning a piece of legislation et were realistic and achievable, and if certain of my colleagues were worth approaching. I was happy in such situations to give my opinion (and it was only my opinion). The idea of being paid to do that while holding elected public office not only seems wrong, but seems possibly undemocratic, as I’m sure only a minority of organisations have the money to do that.
And finally, the thing that annoys me the most about the second job debate is that it paints a picture of MPs that is wholly unfair to all those who dedicate long hours serving their constituents sometimes at great personal cost.

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Liberal Democrats stand up for British trade & jobs; UKIP and Eurosceptic Tories pretend you can have your cake and eat it

Following a number of Twitter exchanges about trade with Eurosceptics (mostly UKIP supporters), I decided I needed a bit more than 140 characters to properly address this crucial topic.

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Good news for tobacco control; less so for e-cigarettes

Today I abstained on the final Tobacco Products Directive vote.  My position on this Directive has always been clear: I wanted strong tobacco control measures and sensible regulation of e-cigarettes.   I was therefore not willing to vote against the Directive …

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Media Releases

MEPs welcome funding boost for Yorkshire project

Yorkshire & Humber Liberal Democrat MEPs Edward McMillan-Scott and Rebecca Taylor have welcomed €300m EU funding for Yorkshire’s White Rose carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. The pioneering project in Selby, North Yorkshire qualified for a grant under a scheme …

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Rebecca Taylor: Greater corporate transparency on the way thanks to the EU

Rebecca Taylor, Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has successfully pushed through measures that will lead to better transparency for large companies. The European Parliament adopted rules that will require around 6000 large companies across Europe to report …

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MEPs vote to scrap mobile roaming charges in EU by December 2015

The European Parliament has voted to scrap mobile roaming charges in the EU by December 2015 following a successful campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs. Current EU caps on roaming charges have saved consumers across the EU an estimated £8bn since …

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ALDE

Nemtsov murder throws Russia back into the dark ages

ALDE Group leader in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has today reacted to the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the political leader of our sister party Parnas, who was shot dead last night on the streets of Moscow:

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Dita Charanzová and Fernando Maura (ALDE) warn of the risk of civil conflict in Venezuela and call for EU to speak with one voice against the Maduro regime

Brussels, 26 February 2015.- “The repression, economic crisis, crime, paramilitary commandos … in Venezuela all conditions are given for the existence of a civil conflict” MEP Fernando Maura expressed with forcefulness yesterday, in the…

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EU must take immediate action in the case of Nadiya Savchenko

EU must take immediate action in the case of Nadiya Savchenko
Following the decision of Moscow’s city court to keep Ukrainian pilot, Nadiya Savchenko, in custody until 13th of May 2015, MEP Hans van Baalen (VVD, The Netherlands), ALDE Group’ spokesman on Russia and Ukraine, said:

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