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Career Politicians Like Ed Miliband Are Ruining Politics, Says Margaret Hodge

Senior Labour MP rails against the professionalisation of politics

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Ed Miliband is part of a "new class" of career politicians making British politics worse, Labour MP Margaret Hodge has said.

Neil Hall / Reuters

The senior Labour MP, known for pursuing tax avoiding companies, said British politics was poorer because of politicians who had worked all their lives in the Westminster machine before becoming MPs.

Hodge, who chairs the influential Public Accounts Committee, said she included her own party leader in this group of people, as well as David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

"I worry about the professionalism of politics. There’s a new class of people who go into politics, usually through our elite universities, then become advisors," she said.

"I think all three party leaders, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg have all had careers as professional politicians. I think you lose a lot from that."

The PAC chair has come to public prominence in recent years for her committee's fight against corporate tax avoidance.

She was speaking on Tuesday afternoon at an event attended by parliamentarians from other Commonwealth countries, and organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Hodge is MP for Barking and was a minister in the last Labour government. Before becoming an MP she worked in market research and consultancy, and was leader of Islington council. Her family owns a metal trading business.

Her comments come the same day as former Labour MP and Home Secretary Charles Clarke questioned Ed Miliband's leadership credentials, telling the BBC's Daily Politics programme that the Labour leader "has to convince people he has the capacity to lead the country".