How many jobs can a councillor do and still fully serve their local residents?
That’s one question Rainham Central councillor Rehman Chishti is pushing to it’s limits. Since adding being the MP for Gillingham and Rainham to his list of jobs in 2010, Rehman has continued to do more and more on a national and international level, and less and less on a local level.
Indeed, when it comes to local council meetings, Rehman has only managed to turn up to 40% of council meetings in the last 18 months, but has managed to find time for everything listed below. We’re by no means suggesting councillors can’t have other roles, but this all seems like rather a lot for one person. How much time can Rehman Chishti truly to be dedicating to the people of Rainham Central?
1 Obviously he’s the MP for Gillingham and Rainham
In his role as MP for Gillingham and Rainham, Rehman has spent many hours in parliament finding creative ways to assist his residents. In his sparkling eight years, he has voted consistently against raising benefits in line with prices, voted to reduce spending on welfare, voted against equal same sex marriage, and against laws that promote human rights. His full record can be read here.
2. Appointed to the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Since 2017, Rehman has sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee, which has recently led inquiries into police funding, extremism, migration, drugs, hate crime, and many other equally important topics.
3. He’s now a Vice Chair of the Conservative Party
In January, Rehman was appointed Vice Chair of the Conservative Party for Communities. If we’re honest, we’re not entirely sure what this involves but it comes with a £10,000 a year bonus, so that’s nice.
4. That sweet, sweet Saudi cash
Between 2016 and 2018, Rehman took £46,000 for advisory work with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. In this time, Rehman has taken part in parliamentary trips to the country, and unsurprisingly, has asked very few searching questions about Saudi Arabia. Indeed, in 2016, after international condemnation of the country executing political prisoners, he suggested in parliament that they might have been terrorists. Which makes it all okay then. In light of recent events, Rehman’s involvement with Saudi Arabia is once again making the news. Channel 4 News asked him a few questions about that today, and you can judge how well you think that went for him.
5. Theresa May made him envoy to Pakistan
You wouldn’t think Rehman would have time for much else, in 2017 Rehman was also appointed the Government Trade Envoy to Pakistan. This has since led to him making several trips to the country to attempt to boost trading relations between the UK and Pakistan.
6. He appears on high quality tv shows
Over the years, Rehman has built up a good little side earner by popping up on various TV programmes. Most notably, he received £1,400 last year for appearing on five episodes of Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff. No, us either.
7. Not really a job, but..
Rehman Chishti spends much of his time at Gillingham Football Club, whether it’s attending matches or writing his banal column in the club programme. So eager is he to focus on the matches themselves that he forgot to declare all of the free tickets he’d been given to parliamentary authorities.
8. Friends in Arkansas
In a slightly odd turn, Rehman seems to spend a fair bit of time building a relationship with the US state of Arkansas. During this year’s Conservative Party Conference, Rehman decided to spend several days in the US, campaigning for Republican representative French Hill, a man so competent that he managed to get himself dragged into the Russia collusion investigation and was recently endorsed by a horrifically offensive advert.
Resident of Rainham Central? What experiences have you had with Rehman Chishti as your local councillor? Are you one of Rehman’s ward colleagues picking up his slack? Are you Rehman Chishti and have time to respond to this? Our inbox is always open or slide into our DMs on Twitter.