Umunna offers unpaid internship – and defends it

Labour MP Chuka Umunna has been criticised by Young Labour and others for advertising an unpaid intern position:


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Labour Party policy, as Young Labour’s Twitter account pointed out, is to abolish the practice – and Umunna’s history as an employment lawyer has added to the disapproval of his decision.

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The SKWAWKBOX sent details of Kane Emerson’s tweet to Chuka Umunna and invited him to comment. He responded:

The Leeds University placement is a structured part of politics sandwich-course degrees at the university, and takes place on the strict condition that students receive Student Finance throughout. The scheme, and others like it, are run collaboratively by MPs and universities, and gives students supported work experience as part of their university degree.

In addition to the Student Finance students receive while undertaking a placement, as detailed in the advert, my office will reimburse travel expenses for a student travel card to minimise expenses. I do not and would not offer a long-term placement where a student is not supported and left financially penalised.

Unfortunately, IPSA do not provide additional resources for MPs to recruit interns on a paid basis, though the Parliamentary Labour Party has always argued strongly for them to do so. I strongly believe that interns should be paid and, for that reason, I do not have any unsupported interns working in the office despite the many requests received. For many years, my office has only accepted students undertaking work experience as part of supported university schemes, or short work experience placements from the schools in my constituency.

Mr Emerson has been contacted for comment on Umunna’s response.

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    1. Working for a champagne socialist (and I use the word socialist without conviction)

  1. The Year in Industry scheme, YINI, as I understand it is managed exclusively by the EDT, Engineering Development Trust for engineering and science students but includes ‘business’ (related to that area of industry I imagine) and that potential ’employers’ apply through the scheme. Applicants for placements proceed through the EDT mechanism. It is a ‘paid’ placement with appropriate mentoring According to EDT website: The Year in Industry – Paid career development work placements for students completing A levels/Scottish Highers/equivalent qualifications or as part of a university sandwich year.
    Labour party dopes not seem to be on the list http://www.etrust.org.uk/year-industry-participating-companies

  2. “…on the strict condition that students receive Student Finance throughout.”
    To me that makes it sound like a bursary or a grant – Student Finance is what they call the student loans isn’t it?
    So the student will be borrowing money to work for him?
    How can that not make a socialist feel queasy?

  3. Choco is not a socialist he’s a neoliberalist Tory lite MP so absolutely no morals no scruples and no queasiness about s the internships

  4. umunna – The black Demonic Raabid…Sorry, dominic raab.

    The sooner both vile pieces of tory slime are punted, the better. Not as if either couldn’t afford to pay their interns from their own pockets.

    Better still if either did a day’s graft with their own two hands.

    1. An assistant with ‘comfortably off’ parents who like his political views and ethical stance? Hey, they might even fork out for a “Meet Chukka” Fundraiser!
      But also an assistant who disagrees with the Labour Party Manifesto.

  5. Umunna’s justification is as bad as offering an unpaid internship in the first place. He says the University scheme he is using ‘expects this’ unpaid internship. If Ummnunna was not so far detached from real life by his own privileged existence or so out of touch with Labour principles, he would have challenged the Universities scheme from the outset not exploited it for his own benefit. Thus he excludes poorer students.

  6. Dear Chukka,
    Is this not proof of your right wing views and thoughts?
    Least you forget you are in a “SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY”!
    Please stop insulting our intelligence and join the party of the few, not the many!
    Have you forgot your “BLACK HISTORIC” past?
    How the white wealthy and privileged, sent ships to AFRICA to load up their human cargo to sell your “BLACK BROTHERS AND SISTERS” on the open market!
    Is this some sort of joke pay back?
    “I think not”!

    1. To be fair to Mr Umunna, I don’t think he would call himself a Socialist, or ever use the word (unless he hit his thumb with a hammer).
      Indeed, he was among the right wing entryists who joined the Labour Party with the intention of deleting the word ‘Socialist’ from the English Language.

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