Who wants to work for an MP?

Given the daily revelations about MP expenses is now the time to be anywhere near an MP’s office?

There are numerous internships out there that involve hard work and few guaranteed rewards- and they don’t come much harder than interning for an MP, especially if you end up working for a corrupt tax evader who claims expenses on pampers.  

Disregarding the moral questions raised by the various expenses scandals out there at the moment-interns within Westminster or constituency offices must be thinking, is this really where I want to be? 

Who could blame them, working hard for politicians and more importantly the constituents that these MPs represent, interns are on the front lines of political work at local level, they along with caseworkers and researchers will handle a number of jobs from stuffing envelopes for mailings, constituency casework, preparing correspondents, talking to councils to working on political campaigns. Interns and volunteers basically do all the work that is time intensive, freeing up the permanent staff to concentrate on the overall running of the offices. 

If MPs didn’t have interns and volunteers manning their offices I imagine two things would happen, firstly the staff expense levels for all MPs would increase dramatically, secondly MPs would be hammered on why they weren’t doing so much in their local communities anymore. 

Interns and volunteers are a valuable resource to both MPs and their communities but they have to worry about how this current chapter is going to affect their careers further down the road. What happens when an individual who has just finished a six month internship with an MP who was involved in an expenses scandal is interviewed for a job? 

This is relevant for anyone who is seeking to work in a Personal Assistant role as a common requirement is the ability to file personal expenses in line with guidelines. Whilst an intern who may have filled out the paperwork for an expenses claim for an MP may have been acting in good faith and followed the guidelines to the letter what does that matter in the end if the expense you raised was for something like a bath plug. 

You will be tarnished by any scandal which happened when you worked in the office, whether you were involved or not, whether it was right or not. 

So we come back to the question, is now the time to be anywhere near an MP’s office in any capacity? 

The simple answer would be yes, the more complicated one would be no, when the office you are working for is being engulfed in a media storm completely blown out of all proportions without the certainty that comes from triple sourcing, which is happening at the moment, newspapers, magazines and other media outlets are not waiting to see whether something can be verified, they are not waiting for every receipt to be released, they are printing whatever they get at the moment; and if you are working in an office which is in the middle of one of these scandals get out now. 

In an ideal world the system would be better but just because you can claim something doesn’t mean you should. Perhaps MPs should be able to only claim those things which most interns can claim, travel expenses and maybe lunch, if they’re lucky.

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Interns Anonymous

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