BEING an elected representative is not only a privilege but it should also unquestionably be a full-time job.

MSPs are paid to represent constituents, carry out committee work and, where appropriate, tend to a party portfolio. There is more than enough to keep them occupied for their £61,000 a year.

However, it seems like some MSPs, particularly on the Tory benches, believe being an MSP can be fitted around their extensive outside interests.

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It is a particularly rankling state of affairs that while public sector workers are being told to tighten their belts, some of Ruth Davidson’s colleagues are free to make hay financially by taking on second jobs.

Ten Tory MSPs, including shadow cabinet ministers, collectively earn up to £370,000 on top of their earnings at Holyrood.

It could be argued that what MSPs do in their own time is a matter for them. Fair enough, but Douglas Ross, a former MSP turned MP, missed parliamentary business because he was moonlighting as a referee.

When Holyrood was created, its procedures were crafted so that the new legislature would not copy Westminster’s many flaws.

However, one consequence of the Tory success at the last Holyrood election is that Westminster’s double jobbing culture seems to have migrated to Edinburgh.

Plans by Neil Findlay, the prominent Labour MSP, to crack down on second jobs are long overdue and should be applauded.

Coming up with workable restrictions will be no easy task, however. Some elected members, such as nurses, have to do an occasional shift for professional registration purposes.

Other MSPs, like Kezia Dugdale, are paid for writing a newspaper column - work that is clearly an extension of parliamentary duties. In Dugdale’s case, she should be applauded for donating the money earned to charity.

The real goal is honing in on MSPs who are, to put it mildly, filling their boots. If we can put a man on the moon, it should not be too difficult to place sensible restrictions on outside employment at Holyrood.

If Holyrood does not get a grip, we could end up with a situation where taking on second jobs is commonplace. In one year as an MP, former Chancellor George Osborne raked in £800,000 from 15 speaking engagements, including at City and Wall Street banks.

Ruth Davidson, who does not have a second job, could act by making it a requirement for all Tory candidates to accept a ban. To coin a phrase, she could tell her colleagues to get back to their day job.