JO SWINSON, MP for East Dunbartonshire, has backed the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements scheme and urged local people with an interest in politics to apply for the chance to work in Parliament.
The scheme, initiated by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, Eric Ollerenshaw OBE MP and the East Dunbarton MP, with strong support from the Speaker of the House of Commons, aims to tackle the problem of unpaid internships in politics by creating a number of paid positions working with MPs in Parliament.
Each successful applicant will get the opportunity to spend four days a week working in the Parliamentary office of an MP with the fifth day being spent in a variety of roles across the House of Commons.
The organisers hope to develop a greater understanding of how Parliament works.
By paying interns a fixed wage, the scheme opens up Parliament to people who wouldn’t be able to work and live in London for free.
The scheme was initially launched in 2011 and the first participants are coming to the conclusion of their nine months in Parliament.
Ms Swinson said: “The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements scheme is a really important programme that helps open up Parliament to more people and ensures that those interested in politics are given the opportunity to work here regardless of their background.
“I was fortunate to participate in the scheme in the first year and have a young woman in my office who would never have had the opportunity to come and work in Parliament otherwise.
“Making Parliament more representative of ordinary people is incredibly important and I hope that people across the region who are passionate about politics will consider applying.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I certainly welcome the efforts of Hazel Blears, Jo Swinson and all those others who have been involved in the Speaker’s excellent initiative. It is a small beginning but very significant.”