Are MPs in office?

The first New Zealand MP to give birth while in office was in 1970, and another trail-blazed for breastfeeding at parliament house in 1983.

One of those linguistic things I’m not sure of. Ministers are in office, sure. MPs? Elected to a term, to the House, but office?

16 thoughts on “Are MPs in office?”

  1. Hmm. Not sure. When I was a city councillor the HMRC legal advice was that HMRC maintained a legal fiction that I was an employee of the city council in order to put me within the payroll system, but that I was legally not an employee, but an office holder, so from that I could have said I was in office.

    UK MPs are legally self-employed sole traders. In the UK system you talk about the “Great Offices of State” which are the four top ministers, and you talk about a /government/ being in office, so at national level I’d say that /ministers/ are in office, not MPs.

  2. @jgh

    “HMRC maintained a legal fiction that I was an employee of the city council in order to put me within the payroll system”

    I’m not sure why they would. S5 ITEPA 2003 (and its predecessor) clearly applies employment tax rules to office holders so there’s no need for a ‘legal fiction’ making you an employee.

  3. MPs are expressly forbidden from “holding an office of profit under the Crown” (for obvious reasons: one of Parliament’s main purposes is to set taxes, and if someone is a direct beneficiary of those same taxes, there’s a conflict of interest). It’s why they take on the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds in order to get kicked out, because they can’t resign either. They’ve got away with paying themselves salaries for a century on the grounds that the post of MP is not an “office”.

    So if the CSPL says it is, they’re in a bit of a pickle. Every Parliament – and therefore every statute – since 1911 has been illegitimate.

  4. I did like the blunt comment from one MP in U.K. over new mothers bringing their babies into the chamber along the lines of a lot of people who were paid significantly less were able to organise childcare to keep doing their job so why should MPs be different
    And don’t forget one new mother claimed she shouldn’t have to stand for re-election at the last general election as with a new baby she couldn’t campaign enough.
    If you want to see privilege and entitlement in action women beat men hands down

  5. If it’s an American source then ‘in office’ is correct. That’s simply how we talk about politicians whether they’re elected to an ‘office’ like a governor or a seat like a representative.

  6. “It still is 1970 in much of New Zealand.”
    I sort of wish that were so, we were made of sterner stuff then.

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