Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed the now-former Member of Parliament for Corby to the post of Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead after she resigned her seat via a letter to her friend the First Lord of the Treasury.
I love these ancient titles of our rulers: modernisation must be resisted. But why was it necessary for Louise Mensch to become the Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead? Well, we still cling to the idea that the job of being an MP is a serious business and should be taken seriously by candidates and sitting MPs both. You are expected to remain in your seat unless death do you part. You may only resign at a General Election. Constituents may decide for you, of course. The only way otherwise to resign mid-term is to become disbarred through being given a sinecure which is a “paid office of the Crown”. The Stewardship of Northstead is one such and many an MP who has needed or wanted to leave the Commons has held this peculiar post for a huge variety of reasons. Recent post-holders include Boris Johnson (left Henley to stand for Mayor of London), Gerry Adams (wished to run for Irish Parliament), Peter Mandleson (to join European Commission) and Matthew Parris (to become a TV and newspaper pundit). Other notables: Enoch Powell, Ian Paisley, Anthony Eden.
There is a list of past Stewards here. A very interesting read.