MP and newly-elected council leader to ‘earn every penny’ despite criticism

The chamber of the House of Commons (PA)
The chamber of the House of Commons (PA) (PA Archive)
18:21pm, Mon 10 May 2021
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A constituency MP elected as leader of a county council has said he intends to “earn every penny” despite opposition MPs describing his new role as a “lucrative second job with potential conflicts of interest”.

Conservative Mansfield MP Ben Bradley said his new position as leader of Nottinghamshire County Council required a “similar level of time and commitment” to being a Government minister.

But Labour MPs in the area have questioned whether he would be “claiming the full-time salary/allowance for doing the job part-time”.

General Election 2019 (PA Archive)

Mr Bradley told the PA news agency he did not believe balancing the two roles would be “as unprecedented as people might suggest”.

He said: “Any minister in Government is both a constituency MP and also has a huge additional responsibility, Matt Hancock runs a £300 billion department as well as being a constituency MP.

“If you consider it that way in terms of the time pressures, I don’t think it’s as unprecedented as people might think.

“There are no other county councillors in the country who can just go and knock on the door of the relevant minister, and I hope that’s useful in terms of delivery.”

Labour MPs Lilian Greenwood and Nadia Whittome used Twitter to criticise Mr Bradley’s new role.

Ms Whittome, the MP for Nottingham East, said: “Another MP with a lucrative second job.

“And this one comes with potential conflicts of interest.”

Nottingham South MP Ms Greenwood also took to Twitter to say: “Surely he won’t be claiming the full-time salary/allowance for doing the job part-time?”

Mr Bradley also faced criticism from Labour’s leader of Nottingham City Council, David Mellen, who tweeted: “Being a Council Leader is very much a full time job, as is being a Member of Parliament.

“How could anyone do both jobs at the same time?”

Responding to the comments, Mr Bradley told PA: “I obviously feel it is possible or I wouldn’t be here doing it.

“The Prime Minister is also a constituency MP – clearly he has to manage both jobs and he has an incredibly busy job alongside being a constituency MP, so as I say, I don’t think it’s as unprecedented in terms of splitting that time as people might suggest.

“The thing for me here is, rather than go down and want to climb the career ladder in Westminster, I’ve chosen to spend my time here in the county.

“But you know what, I’m at the mercy here of my group here at County Hall – if I’m proved wrong and if I can’t manage these things, then they will no doubt pick somebody else.”

Mr Bradley continued: “This particular arrangement is untried and untested and I think we should take that opportunity and see what it can bring.

“I’m confident it can be beneficial but we’ll make that assessment and if it’s not then we can change it.”

Mr Bradley said his move to become leader of the county council was part of his decision to “concentrate my time locally” – which he cited as his part of his reason for stepping down as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) last year.

I obviously feel it is possible or I wouldn't be here doing it

He said: “I intend to commit all of that additional time and energy that I could have spent down in Whitehall as a minister, here in the county delivering.

“I think there is a flexible approach to this – and particularly now, as we’ve seen over the course of the last year, we all know you do not have to be physically in a place in order to meet people and contribute to things.

“I’ve no doubt at some stage, if this is successful and if I’m lucky enough to be here for the full duration of this term, then there will be occasions where I will have to say ‘I’m going to this and not that’.

“In any leadership role or any management role, that is the case – you have to prioritise.”

Addressing criticisms of his potential salary, Mr Bradley told PA: “I intend to earn my money.

“It’s going to be incredibly busy and incredibly hard work, and I am fully committed to doing that.

“I compared it before to being a minister in Government, I think it’s a similar level of time and commitment to being a minister in Government, which is very much two full-time jobs.

“The remuneration is very similar to being a Government minister.

“I intend to earn every penny of it, as I say, and if it doesn’t work then I have no doubt my group will let me know and they’ll do something else.”

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