The muted call of a career in politics

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There aren't many jobs that pay six figures (expenses included) and allow for a seven week summer recess. Nor are there many that offer a final salary pension.

Despite this, the line of former bankers queuing for a career in Westminster seems short. Last week, Panmure Gordon analyst Sandy Chen denied rumours that he was readying himself to run as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats, saying that he wouldn't be able to "afford the salary."

This is a shame, given recent research suggesting most politicians have limited experience outside politics.

There was a time, however, when the path from banking to Westminster was comparatively well trodden.

The Conservative Party in particular has re-housed numerous former bankers, including Stephen Hammond, a former director of the equities business at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Andrea Leadsom, a former head of Barclays' investment banks team, and Oliver Letwin, a part-timer at Rothschild.

However, the Conservatives are now broadening their candidate pool and ex-bankers are less electable than they were. Asked to comment on the desirability of bankers, Conservative Campaign Headquarters came up with the vapid statement that: "We are keen to encourage people from all walks of life and all parts of Britain."

One ex-Merrill banker and would-be Conservative Candidate isn't put off. "Former bankers are best placed to criticize the failings of the City and to suggest policies on how to improve matters," he says hopefully.

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