MPs at 40: Do you agree with Andrew Marr?

Posted 4 years.


  • Sean Karl - 1 year ago

    Any adult should be allolwed to be MP. If the people don't want someone without life experience then they should not vote for them. We could extend the argument to children too. Children would simply not get the votes. I don't think what I said is difficult to understand. For those who want to bring in this over 40 rule what they are actually saying is 'I don't like the fact that people vote for MPs under the age of forty and I want to take that right away from them because I know better. Give me a break!

  • Stephen Glenn - 4 years ago

    I think what Andrew is really getting at is those who have done nothing else but work in politics since they left University. Others have had quite a lifetime before the age of 40.

    You could for example have been a teenage single mum who has raised a child to University level, or a career soldier who had server 14 years. Or an entrepreneur who has established a number of major companies like Richard Branson did. Myself I was unto a third change in job into a totally different field none of them in politics that would wait until I was over 40 and have over 20 years of political volunteering under my belt.

  • P Coffey - 4 years ago

    Agree with Andrew Marrs principle but might lower the age to 35. Politics has become a career in its own right rather than an activity to which MP s bring their experience. This applies irrespective of Party.

  • Allan Lowe - 4 years ago

    Totally agree with Andrew Marr's sentiments and would go further and suggest that a compulsory retirement at age 70 in line with Judges etc be implemented. Length of service does not always result in greater wisdom and experience is not necessarily the result of "time served".

  • HJ777 - 4 years ago

    I agree with Andrew Marr, but this really wouldn't solve the problem. What is stopping someone leaving university (having studied, say PPE), working in a series of politico jobs such policy advisor or political researcher completely divorced from the real world of work and then standing to be an MP once they are 40?

  • Stephen Miller - 4 years ago

    If the public showed any sign of wanting to elect these experienced workers and industrialists, we might get some. Apparently the electorate are more impressed by the likes of Farage and Cameron. We get what we deserve.

  • OrderandProgress - 4 years ago

    I agree with Andrew Marr. The same age limitations could well apply to professions such as psychology, psychotherapy, the Church, translating/interpreting, etc. First marriage for men after 40 might not be a bad idea either!!!

  • Francis Casserly - 4 years ago

    I entirely agree with Andrew Marr, although I would not be so certain as to the appropriate age. However, every candidate for election as an MP should have worked somewhere outside of the closed political set-up represented by the usual chain of Student Union politics, Westminster researcher, local government and then capping it all at Westminster. Thus all candidates might gain a little understanding of the impact that decisions made in Whitehall have on most of the population. Furthermore, I would suggest that as MPs represent (allegedly) their constituents, then their remuneration should be directly linked to the average level of pay throughout the country, thus MP's pay= average earnings, shadow ministers=1.5Xaverage pay, ministers and opposition party leaders =2Xaverage pay, PM=2.5Xaverage pay.

  • richardl - 4 years ago

    I would think that an absolute must is that employment before standing as an MP excludes life as an intern / assistant with a politician or their party.

  • Salva2 - 4 years ago

    Andrew is brilliant saying this obvious fact. I hope he continues to push for this in some form. Its not just in the UK, but in the whole of Europe! Not mentioning names, but our main party leaders, are just polished speech writers who worked their way up the system. Many things now said or done by our current crop of so called leaders would be laughed out of a corporate boardroom. Initiatives are taken without proper costing and piloting for effectiveness. Often its just to grab the floating voter. Billions are wasted trying to fix social problems without accountability and incurring long term funding long after the idea is found to be ineffective. They do not address long term fundamental projects because of the media reaction and the 5 year electoral cycle. In the meantime the big corporations just get on with doing what they do because they have long term global strategies and meet the needs of customers. Which of these senior large company CEO's would really want to be an MP?

  • Roger Miller - 4 years ago

    So Pitt the Younger and Winston Churchill would have had to delay their careers, according to Mr Marr. There are surely legions of examples of immaturity and bad judgement among younger politicians, as there are in the older lot; viz Alex Salmond as a latest illustration. Age is no barrier to foolishness. Perhaps Mr Marr's toungue-in-cheek suggestion might more wisely be applied to journalists and their editors. Thus, we might not have witnessed the demise of the News of the World and the peripatetic career of one Piers Morgan.

  • L. C. Bowen - 4 years ago

    Marr is absolutely right on this. By the same token, it is ridiculous to expect 16 and 17-year-olds who have had no experience of life outside the school gates to have the power to help shape the colour of our Government. The case could be made, I believe, for a return to the voting age of 21

  • L. C. Bowen - 4 years ago

    Marr is absolutely right on this. By the same token, it is ridiculous to expect 16 and 17-year-olds who have had no experience of life outside the school gates to have the power to help shape the colour of our Government. The case could be made, I believe, for a return to the voting age of 21

  • Dave Besag - 4 years ago

    There are only three British Prime Ministers who became MPs after they were 40 years of age (Chamberlain, Baldwin and Bonar Law) and only Chamberlain first tried becoming an MP after they were that age. Every other Prime Minister was an MP at a younger age ignoring five Peers who were never MPs (Rosebery, Aberdeen, Rockingham, Bute and Newcastle).

  • Roger Lynch - 4 years ago

    Completely agree with Marr

    In fact would list the pre-requisites for MPs to be :
    Aged at least 45
    Have worked in a private company or run their own company
    Have lost their job at least once
    Anyone who has worked more than 40% of their working life in any sort of education, local or central government is barred from becoming an MP - permanently
    Lawyers are barred permanently from any sort of public office.
    Once an MP you will never ever be permitted to gain employment of any sort with any company or organisation with which you had dealings when an MP
    As an MP you will be brainwashed into understanding that you are there to represent your constituents NOT a party

    That will do for starters

  • Nick Wain - 4 years ago


    I quite agree, politicians need to have had a life before setting out for a career in public service.It's all very well to criticize our current PM with his past career in PR but what about your friend Blair,would the same principles apply to him and chums?

  • Rev Michael Aston - 4 years ago

    Entirely agree. It would be even more enticing if their cv shows they had been made redundant sometime in their life - perhaps they might then have experience of living near the margins.
    Additionally, I think the same comment can be made about priests - no ordination until forty, and having worked at the sharp end. Same preference about redundancy too.
    How can either sort counsel people when they have little life experience.

  • John Jarrett - 4 years ago

    I agree with Andrew except that it will still not save us from others like the current crop of useless party leaders who have never had a proper job and have climbed the greasy pole without any experience of life outside politics and have no understanding of real people trying to make a living in the real world.

  • Merilyn Potter - 4 years ago

    I totally agree that no one should be eligible to become an MP before the age of 40, and should also be able to show they have had a suitable educational background or relevant commercial & life experience, Too many young graduates - who may be very literate and articulate - become paid "Researchers" and are shoe horned into being candidates for election.

    There should also be an "upper age limit", particularly in the House of Lords. I would suggest that 70 for the Commons and 75 for the Lords is a good age for this to happen. All MPs and Lords need to acquire a depth of experience "in office". If you enter the House at 40, you need time to gain this.

    Politics has lost touch with the grass roots electorate - and many sitting and would-be Members are solely concerned in preserving their Seats and incomes. This is particularly so in local authorities where sitting Counsellors will fight tooth and nail to retain their positions because they assume office as a regular "job" rather than the "voluntary" basis that is supposed to rule. The "expenses" received mean that Counsellors consider these as regular paid jobs. The amounts can be considerable - £40,000 p.a. for some of those in Wandsworth.

    I am personally aware of some rogue Wandsworth Councillors who wish to retain their positions due to financial circumstances - but would refrain from naming them to avoid a libel action. However, examples of competent MPs with good previous experience are - David Davis (ex Tate & Lyle) and Jane Ellison (ex John Lewis), etc.

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