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Interning for MPs: exploitation or experience?

Donal MacIntyre and Hannah Barnes have reported on MPs’ interns for BBC Radio 5 live:

MPs could be breaking the law by not paying their parliamentary interns. Hundreds of young graduates are putting in thousands of hours of unpaid work at Westminster. This practice is excluding many young people without independent financial support from a route that many see as the first step on the ladder to a political career. But, this is not just a question of pushing the bounds of fairness. Minimum wage regulations require that some of these interns should be paid.”

You can listen to the podcast of last Sunday’s show “Parliament’s unpaid workers” here.

Among Liberal Democrat MPs, practices vary: Phil Willis and Alistair Carmichael pay their interns the national minimum wage while others pay only travel and lunch expenses.

I spoke to Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, who puts his interns on a contract as part-time researchers:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 22 Comments
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