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Members employment, attendance and expenses (2015)

Request

  • Could you please tell me who MPs work for, i.e. themselves or have an employer?
  • How many days a year do MPs have holiday?
  • How many days a year are they supposed to sit in Parliament?
  • A full list of every MP who has been on sick and days they have been on sick in the last 5 years?
  • A full list of pay and all expenses claimed by every MP from this last Parliament?
  • A full list of pay and all expenses claimed by Alan Johnson and Karl Turner for their full terms as MPs?
  • The full amount claimed in expenses, days holiday and days sick for Iain Duncan Smith, David Cameron, George Osborne, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, Nadine Dorries, Justine Greening, Theresa May, Priti Patel, Amber Rudd, Claire Perry, Esther McVey, Michael Gove, Eric Pickles, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Fallon, Edward Davey, Danny Alexander, Francis Maude, Grant Shapps, Matthew Hancock, Sayeeda Warsi and Margaret Thatcher since they all started as MPs?

 

 

Response

  • Could you please tell me who MPs work for, i.e. themselves or have an employer?

Members of Parliament are not employed by the House of Commons.  Members are elected to represent constituencies and are paid by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

It may also help you to know that on Thursday 27 October 2011 Adam Afriyie MP, the Chair of the Committee on Members’ Expenses, asked Dave Hartnett, Permanent Secretary for Tax, HMRC;

“Chair : […] You have already alluded to it in your first answer, but can you also confirm or make some observations about the type of employment status that MPs may or may not have, or the possibilities of which types of employment status they may have from the perspective, again, of HMRC? Some people argue that we are self-employed because we run small businesses. Some people argue that we are employees of Parliament. Some people argue that we are office holders like somebody high up in the church with a stipend. I just wonder if you could make some observations about how you would see that.

Dave Hartnett: Of course. Maybe I can start with the easiest part of your question. We in HMRC cannot think of a group who are less like the self-employed. Self-employed people are independent and carrying out work and endeavours and the like for themselves for gain, so we do not think you are self-employed.

The opposite position is that it is very hard for us to think of a group who are more like office holders. Our working definition of an office holder is somebody who works in a role that exists independent of what they themselves bring to it, so we see you as office holders, the Member of Parliament for wherever has endured for a long time, boundary changes and all of that allowing, and we do not see you as employees.”

The full transcript of this oral evidence is published by Hansard, available from any public library or from the parliamentary website.

  • How many days a year do MPs have holiday?

This information is not held by the House of Commons.  Members are responsible for managing their own time and do not report this to the House of Commons.

However, it may help you to know that Parliament does not sit on every day of the year. During periods called recesses MPs can work in their constituencies or schedule time off as they see fit. 
Recess dates for the 2014-15 session were:

Recess House rises House returns
Summer 22 July 2014 1 September 2014
Conference 12 September 2014 13 October 2014
November 11 November 2014 17 November 2014
Christmas 18 December 2014 5 January 2015
February 12 February 2015 23 February 2015
  • How many days a year are they supposed to sit in Parliament?

Members of Parliament are not obliged by parliamentary rules to attend the House at any time. Political parties may make demands of their MPs, but that is a matter for them. No records are kept of MPs’ attendance at Parliament; however you may be able to look at an MP's voting records in Hansard to ascertain their attendance in the chamber, although this may give you a distorted picture of their attendance as they may be present in the chamber and decide not to vote (abstentions are not recorded in Hansard).

Erskine May, the authority on parliamentary procedure states:
"On ordinary occasions the attendance of Members in Parliament is not enforced by either House.  In the House of Lords the name of every Lord present during the sitting of the House is taken down each day by the Clerks and entered in the Journals. In the Commons ensuring attendance has become a function of party machinery, and the Whips of the various parties make it their duty to secure adequate representation for all important divisions. The Minutes of Committees include attendance lists and these, together with the publication of division lists and records of debate in the Official Report, allow Members to demonstrate their regular attendance in Parliament."
Erskine May also mentions what action would be taken should a Member refuse to attend a private bill committee:

"If the Committee of Selection is dissatisfied with a Member's excuse, it will require him to serve upon a committee, when his attendance will become obligatory, and if necessary may be enforced by the House."

  • A full list of every MP who has been on sick and days they have been on sick in the last 5 years?

and

  • A full list of pay and all expenses claimed by every MP from this last Parliament?

This information is not held by the House of Commons. 

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has been responsible for paying MP’s salaries and processing expenses claims during the last Parliament (since 7 May 2010).  Therefore you may wish to consider contacting IPSA.

  • A full list of pay and all expenses claimed by Alan Johnson and Karl Turner for their full terms as MPs?

and

  • The full amount claimed in expenses, days holiday and days sick for Iain Duncan Smith, David Cameron, George Osborne, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, Nadine Dorries, Justine Greening, Theresa May, Priti Patel, Amber Rudd, Claire Perry, Esther McVey, Michael Gove, Eric Pickles, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Fallon, Edward Davey, Danny Alexander, Francis Maude, Grant Shapps, Matthew Hancock, Sayeeda Warsi and Margaret Thatcher since they all started as MPs?

Baroness Warsi is a Member of the House of Lords and the information you require is not held by the House of Commons.  The House of Lords are a separate public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act therefore you may wish to consider forwarding your request to them.

Details of pay and expenses for MPs since May 2010 are not held by the House of Commons.  As stated above, you may wish to consider contacting IPSA for this information.

Details of Members pay prior to 2010 is publicly available from a number of sources, including libraries.  To be helpful, please see a Standard Note from the House of Commons Library “Members’ pay and allowances – a brief history”, which details Members’ salaries prior to 2010.

Details of Members’ expenses from 2004/05 to May 2010 are held by the House of Commons in summary form.  This information is publicly available on the parliamentary website.

Details of Members’ expenses before this date are not held by the House of Commons.

Details of Members’ holiday days and sick days are not held by the House of Commons.

You may wish to consider contacting the individual Members concerned to ask for the information you seek, contact details are available on the Parliamentary website. However, Members of Parliament are not public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.  This means that they are not obliged to respond to requests made under the Act.  Similarly, the Act does not apply to political parties.

FOI applies to public authorities and both the House of Commons and House of Lords are listed as institutions covered by the Act.  In addition, information held by government offices in relation to ministerial activities and responsibilities will also be subject to the Act’s provisions.  Further information about FOIA and Parliament is available on our website.