Labour MP Chuka Umunna has been criticised by Young Labour and others for advertising an unpaid intern position:
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.
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.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.