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Labour wants to tell its MPs who they can recruit to their staff teams

10 Jul 2024 5 minute read
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and First Minister of Wales Vaughan Gething walk through the Senedd during his tour of the UK following Labour’s victory in the 2024 General Election. Photo credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Martin Shipton

The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) has been accused of control freakery after urging newly elected MPs to allow it to decide who they should employ on their support staff teams.

An “welcome” email sent to MPs contains a section headed “Staffing”, which states: “This will be one of your main concerns and it’s important to get this right. Remember, there’s no need to rush into any decisions on hiring staff – it’s better to take your time and hire people that suit you personally, your constituency, your political interests  and what you want to achieve as an MP. We would therefore recommend not advertising or recruiting for the first few weeks.

“To help you in recruiting members of staff to your office in Westminster, the PLP have launched a new website www.workforlabourplp.org.uk to help you find the best people to hire. We would strongly advise you to use this service which will vet candidates and create a shortlist ready for you to interview.

“Your office should not just be seen as a collection of assistants who support your activities, but as an organisation in its own right. If well put together and managed, it can significantly enhance your ability to achieve your long-term strategic goals.”

“Be a part of the change”

The email goes on to recommend hiring staff in these roles: administrative manager; caseworker; communications officer; constituency support manager; office manager; parliamentary researcher and personal assistant.

Those visiting the website see a picture of Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves.

The site states: “Work for a Labour MP. Be a part of the change. We have a range of roles available, catering to different skill sets.

“With the Labour Party, you have the power to make a difference. As a team member working for a Labour MP, you have the chance to create a fairer, better society. There will be hundreds of job opportunities to work for MPs across the country. If you think you have the skills required to be part of the change then please submit your application to the Parliamentary Labour Party in addition to applying for individual roles.

“Submit your CV to be considered for a role with a Labour MP.

“We have a range of roles available, catering to different skill sets.

“MPs will be advertising jobs available in their office. However, with the large number of opportunities available by submitting your CV via the Parliamentary Labour Party Office we are able to vet and recommend the best possible applicants from a range of backgrounds to parliamentarians. Please note that even though the application form states ‘Apply for this Job’, you are not applying for a specific open vacancy. By completing this form, you are submitting your CV for consideration for any available staff vacancies in Labour MP Parliamentary offices.”

Control

Salaries for the jobs available range from £22,318 up to £59,803.

Those applying for roles are asked to upload their CV, after which they will be expected to answer two questionnaires – one seeking to find out why they want to work for a Labour MP and the other asking them to answer a series of equality and diversity questions such as specifying their ethnicity, whether their current gender is different from the one they were born with and whether they identify as trans.

A Welsh political source told NationCymru: “After controlling candidate shortlists and imposing favoured candidates on constituency parties that didn’t have a chance to make their own decisions about who should stand, the party now wants to choose who MPs employ.

“This smacks of control freakery, with the PLP wanting to control who is employed by Labour MPs, to the extent of working out who should, and who shouldn’t, be on the  shortlist for MPs to interview.

“In the past MPs have been in charge of their own staff appointments. Often, people who have been involved in the election campaign that saw them elected have been given jobs, and that’s been the case in all parties.

“What the PLP is doing now is a complete departure from that, and you can be sure that those chosen to go on shortlists will be in ideological agreement with the Starmer wing of the party.

“While the PLP has no option other than to state that its jobs scheme is voluntary, most new MPs won’t want to go against such a disguised instruction from the PLP at the very start of their career.”


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hdavies15
hdavies15
4 days ago

Seems very much like the box ticking processes used by most public bodies and some private sector nowadays. They don’t really drill down into backgrounds as that might be “intrusive” or even “discriminatory” despite the fact that the purpose of a recruitment campaign is to secure the services of suitably qualified and experienced staff !

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 days ago

Vocational, education and training centers…any planned Clark of Kent ?

Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
4 days ago

From the employees point of view a centrally organised package with HR makes sense but it should stop at that and allow for local constituency recruitment of individuals who know the area. The Parliamentary research side might be more national and effective that way. Too much central control will kill the whole process of representation stone dead. Tony Blair did this to local government where your councillors now exist to tell you what has been decided nationally rather than to deal with local issues locally. Subsidiarity is a nice idea but it has been squeezed out.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
4 days ago

A middle ground would be better so that MP employees are neither exclusively family and friends or chosen centrally.

Billy James
Billy James
4 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Them MS’s in Cardiff Bay get around this by getting their family members employed onto another party MS’s staff……

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