“If an MP isn’t bringing their experience to bear on their work in Parliament, what’s the point of them?”

South Swindon’s Conservative MP Sir Robert Buckland says criticisms of him for continuing to work as a lawyer alongside his role as an MP are missing the point.

Sir Robert was a practising barrister before becoming an MP and has taken on legal jobs as a backbench MP, both before and since being a minister and Secretary of State.

He said: “I think if I was a doctor and working in a hospital to keep my skills up and my qualification valid, and hold on to my qualification, nobody would have a second thought.

“And what nobody mentions in all of this is that the biggest second job that I’ve had since being an MP was being a minister. When I was solicitor general or was Secretary of State for Justice, they were really busy and important jobs, and they took up a lot of time.

“But I continued to do my constituency work all thorough the times I had those jobs, and nobody batted an eyelid and said I wasn’t doing what I should be doing.

“It seems strange that nobody has any issue with me doing those jobs but has a problem with me working as a lawyer.

“I think it’s important to bring my training and professional experience to my work. I don’t think we want MPs who have been nothing but professional politicians.”

In general Sir Robert says he’s not pleased by the scorn that politicians, notably former Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has poured upon lawyers, especially leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer - such as when Mr Johnson criticised Mr Starmer for being “a lawyer, not a leader”.

Sir Robert said: “One name in answer to that is Abraham Lincoln. And there are plenty of others. Lawyers can make, and have made very good leaders, as have all sorts of people.

“We need nurses and teachers and all sorts of people as MPs – but it also helps to have lawyers involved in making laws.

“As a barrister I’m able to see if a piece of legislation has a loophole that might be used in unintended ways, I’ve got the experience to see how a law might be used.”

Sir Robert has recently been confirmed as the Conservative candidate for South Swindon at the next general election, which might be held any time up to January 2025.