When the election results are declared, there will be both happiness and disappointment.
Some MP’s probably including some very well-known and long serving ones, will in effect have been very publicly sacked. Whilst the new incumbents will rightly be celebrating their new jobs, those voted out of office, often face a very tough time, financially, psychologically and emotionally.
MP’s losing their seats are entitled to a resettlement grant, which in effect is a severance package. It is based on age and length of service, and varies between 50% and 100% of the annual salary. In addition to that, MP’s are entitled to a winding up allowance, which is meant to cover the costs of winding up offices and laying off staff.
Politics can be a very tough profession, where personal attacks and outright hostility of both some opponents, voters and the media can, if you are on the receiving end of it, I am sure feel like bullying. As the Returning Officers announce the results, you can see MP’s who have lost their jobs, trying to put on a brave face, but inside they must be hurting, and could very well be very worried about what the future holds for them.
Being an MP is seen by many as a prestige, important role; for many it is a vocation, almost like a minister feeling called to public service. What we do for a living is part of our identity. Almost overnight some people will move from being a Member of Parliament to an ex Member of Parliament. When Parliament is dissolved prior to a general election, MP’s in effect stop being MPs, and become simply Parliamentary Prospective Candidates again, but if they stand for election again, it is only when the election results are announced that being an ex – Member of Parliament, must really feel real.
If you have served in High Office you might expect lucrative positions on Boards of major organisations, or in high office in Public Sector organisations, or even in the media, but for lower ranking MP’s things could be much tougher. Maybe you could go back to what you were doing before, but many might need to find a new career doing something completely different.
Shutting down an MP’s operation seems like it is like a business closing down, usually it is not just the MP who loses their jobs, it is their support staff too, not only does an MP have to face a new career, they have to wind down their old one, that no doubt took a lot of time and effort to build and run. The one busy phones stop ringing, as the world moves on, status, position and identity related to the position are all gone; the question begs “what next”? On a practical basis the bills don’t go away and the resettlement grant won’t last forever.
Those MP’s retiring with a pension are probably relieved, those with big private incomes don’t need to worry about income, but for the ordinary MP who needs income, they are just like anyone else losing their job. What then, for the rest of their careers? Perhaps contacts built whilst serving, might have opportunities, maybe MP’s have planned for life after being an MP, but it must be difficult going through the gruelling process of campaigning, if you truly believe your efforts won’t be successful. You have to want it to do it, so not being able to do what you want must be a blow.
Ex MPs are only human, they deserve our support and gratitude for their service.