The House: 'What is the problem with ambition in public life?'

Rather than simply lament for how little attention is paid to the institution, I thought I’d ask some smart people if they had anything to say in response to my piece about the state of the House of Commons. Over the next little while, those responses will appear here. Next up, Alison Loat.

It seems that few people who become political leaders in this country said they actually wanted the job in the first place. Almost without exception, the MPs we spoke to described themselves as “outsiders” who were cajoled into running for office. Samara’s introductory report on these exit interviews is called “The Accidental Citizen?” because of how accidentally the MPs described their journeys to public life. We might as well have called it “The Reluctant Citizen.”

Most every MP to whom we spoke said they didn’t stand up and ask to run for office. Rather, it wasn’t until someone asked him or her to run that said they even considered it. We heard numerous stories from former MPs talking about how they turned down requests to run numerous times before finally agreeing – often begrudgingly – to run for Parliament.

Read on at Samara’s blog.

Read the rest of this series here.

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