Tory rebellion as Boris is accused of 'surrendering' on second jobs

Tory rebellion as PM accused of ‘surrendering’ on second jobs: Boris Johnson set for clash with backbenchers as he pushes them into Commons vote TODAY on axing paid consultancies

  • The Prime Minister Boris Johnson today called for a ban on MPs holding paid political consultancies
  • Move by PM was an attempt to outflank Sir Keir Starmer who is pushing for a major overhaul of existing rules
  • Sir Keir responded by calling for tougher action as he said almost all second jobs should be banned
  • Labour has tabled a Commons vote tomorrow on barring paid directorships and commercial consultancies
  • Earlier today Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg questioned where line should be drawn on second jobs 

Boris Johnson is facing a backbencher-led revolt today after ploughing ahead with the Tory party’s anti-sleaze campaign as he backed a ban on MPs taking up lucrative second jobs as political consultants.

The Prime Minister wrote to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to propose a dramatic overhaul of the rules that could hit the interests of dozens of Tory MPs, as he seeks to backtrack from a failed attempt to block the suspension of ex-minister Owen Paterson.

Furious Tory backbenchers accused Mr Johnson of ‘capitulation’, as talk of a full-blown Tory revolt ramps up ahead of Wednesday’s crunch vote. 

One MP told the Times: ‘It’s pouring petrol on to the flames. He’s caved to the left. Now if you have a consultancy it will be assumed you’re evil.’ Another accused Mr Johnson of being too concerned with being ’embarrassed’ ahead of a meeting with the liaison committee of MPs.

‘There’s a lot of unease. It’s the lurching, the u-turning, the lack of consultation’, the MP added. Another elected representative whose additional earnings could be hit by any new regulations described the announcement as ‘bizarre’ and suggested it was a method of putting the 2019 intake of Tory MPs at ease. 

Concerns are also said to be mounting among backbenchers on proposals to place ‘reasonable limits’ on the amount of outside work an elected MP can conduct while in office. MailOnline understands there are at least 50 Conservative MPs who currently work as outside consultants, earning a collective £1.7million a year from second jobs.

Mr Johnson said in his letter that the Code of Conduct for MPs should be updated, and endorsed 2018 recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life. One of the new provisions would ensure ‘any outside activity undertaken by an MP, whether remunerated or unremunerated, should be within reasonable limits and should not prevent them from fully carrying out their range of duties’.

He said the changes should ensure ‘MPs who are prioritising outside interests over their constituents are investigated and appropriately punished’. Mr Johnson also said he wanted MPs ‘banned from acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists’.

Sir Keir Starmer is also pushing the issue in the wake of the Westminster sleaze scandal, triggered by the Owen Paterson lobbying row, which has battered the Conservatives in recent weeks. 

The Labour leader has said it should be a ‘point of consensus that paid directorships and commercial consultancies are not jobs for MPs’ and ‘the only people MPs should be lobbying for is their constituents’. 

Boris Johnson wrote to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to propose a dramatic overhaul of the rules that could hit the interests of dozens of Tory MPs, as he seeks to backtrack from a failed attempt to block the suspension of ex-minister Owen Paterson

Sir Keir Starmer had planned to force a vote in the House of Commons today to try to ban MPs from holding paid directorships and commercial consultancies

The PM has written to Speaker Lindsay Hoyle proposing a dramatic overhaul of the rules to crack down on abuses of the system – that could hit the interests of a number of Tory MPs

Downing Street today insisted that Boris Johnson believes the ‘primary job’ of MPs ‘must be to serve their constituencies’

MPs finally voted to rebuke Owen Paterson for lobbying today as the government made its humiliating sleaze U-turn official. 

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle announced that a motion approving the standards report into the former minister had been passed without a formal division.  

It was the third time the findings had come before the House, with Boris Johnson having caused a meltdown with an abortive attempt to save his ally from punishment a fortnight ago.

The second effort was derailed late last night when veteran Tory Christopher Chope shouted ‘object’, forcing the government to bring a debate and vote today.

Despite a furious backlash from colleagues who branded him a ‘selfish tw**’, Sir Christopher insisted this afternoon that he had ‘no regrets’ about stopping the measure going through ‘on the nod’.

Opening the hour-long debate, Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg humbly admitted he had made a ‘mistake’ in pushing the retrospective overhaul of the standards system.

Former PM Theresa May also waded in by condemning the government’s behaviour as ‘ill-judged and just plain wrong’. 

But Sir Christopher and fellow Conservative backbencher Bill Cash both risked inflaming the row again by defending Mr Paterson’s position. 

The potential tensions over the approach were laid bare on Tuesday when Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested it would be impossible to make such rules work. 

Sir Keir was unaware of the PM’s intervention at the start of his press conference as he accused Mr Johnson of ‘corroding trust in our parliament and the belief that politics is a force for good.’

He added: ‘It’s time to ban MPs from being paid directors and commercial consultants. That should not be a controversial situation.’

After he was informed of Mr Johnson’s announcement, Sir Keir joked: ‘So we have won the vote tomorrow already?’  

He added: ‘If he is accepting the motion in full, that’s a significant victory for us in our work to clear up politics. But I would need to look at how he has put it.’ 

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner later tweeted that the party wants to ‘ban second jobs for MPs, with limited exemptions for public service’. 

Owen Paterson was found by a standards watchdog to have committed an ‘egregious’ breach of rules by directly advocating for two companies while they were paying him more than £100,000 per year.

The Government blocked his recommended 30-day suspension from Parliament before performing a U-turn after a ferocious backlash, with Mr Paterson then opting to quit as the Tory MP for North Shropshire. 

In his letter on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said his proposals would ensure MPs ‘neglecting their duties to their constituents and prioritising outside interests would be investigated, and appropriately punished by the existing disciplinary authorities’.

‘They would also ban MPs from exploiting their positions by acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists,’ Mr Johnson added. 

He said: ‘The code of conduct for MPs should be updated to state that: ”Any outside activity undertaken by a MP, whether remunerated or unremunerated, should be within reasonable limits and should not prevent them from fully carrying out their range of duties”.’ 

That could potentially affect Tory MP Geoffrey Cox, who has been criticised for carrying out a £1million a year legal practice alongside his Commons duties. 

Meanwhile, Labour slammed the government and accused them of playing ‘dirty tricks’ over fears their amendment will not guarantee time for a vote on changing the standards rules next year. 

Mr Johnson also backed updating the rules to state: ‘MPs should not accept any paid work to provide services as a Parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant, for example, advising on Parliamentary affairs or on how to influence Parliament and its members. MPs should never accept any payment or offers of employment to act as political or Parliamentary consultants or advisers.’

Labour insists 50 Tory backbenchers and former ministers had been paid by management or consultancy firms over the past year. 

Mr Johnson said the changes could ‘command the confidence’ of the public, and he wanted them implemented as a ‘matter of urgency’.

‘The government believes that these two recommendations form the basis of viable approach which could command the confidence of parliamentarians and the public,’ he wrote.   

Downing Street said the PM would leave the exact detail of the plans to the House of Commons to decide and finalise. His spokesman said ‘it is important in terms of the detailed implementation… that should rightly be for the Commons to take forward on a cross-party basis’. 

Labour is planning to use an Opposition Day debate in the Commons tomorrow to vote on ending paid directorships and commercial consultancies in Parliament. 

Sir Keir responded to the PM’s move by claiming the premier had been ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to his new position.

He told reporters: ‘We’ve had two weeks of Tory sleaze and corruption. Be under no illusion, the Prime Minister has only done this because his back was against the wall because the Labour Party have put down a binding vote for tomorrow.

‘This is a significant victory for the Labour Party, it would not have happened if we hadn’t put down that binding vote. This is a prime minister who has shown no leadership on this whatsoever. It is a step forward for standards in public life.’ 

Earlier, Mr Rees-Mogg had questioned the viability of Labour’s proposals, telling the Conservative Home Moggcast podcast: ‘Where do you draw the line? Let me give you a specific example. I am a trustee of the Oxford Union Literary and Debating Trust which is the parent charity of the Oxford Union Society, Oxford’s debating organisation.

Owen Paterson was found by a standards watchdog to have committed an ‘egregious’ breach of rules by directly advocating for two companies while they were paying him more than £100,000 per year

Any new regulation on MPs’ second jobs could potentially affect Tory MP Geoffrey Cox (pictured), who has been criticised for carrying out a £1million a year legal practice alongside his Commons duties

In his letter on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said his proposals would ensure MPs ‘neglecting their duties to their constituents and prioritising outside interests would be investigated, and appropriately punished by the existing disciplinary authorities’.

Jacob Rees-Mogg today slammed Labour’s plans to crackdown on MPs holding second jobs as he said ‘drawing lines’ on what is and is not acceptable is ‘extraordinarily difficult’

‘It promotes free speech, it supports a very good, active charitable educational objective.

‘It takes up a small amount of time each year, it is unpaid. Should MPs be able to be trustees of charities? I think most people would say yes, that is a perfectly reasonable role for them to be involved in.

‘But what if they are involved with a charity that is a little bit more work and they actually get paid for it? Should they be involved in that?

‘If you say yes, they should be involved in that, can they be doctors? And if you say well yes they can be doctors… are they then allowed to be involved in the pharmaceutical industry?

‘Say they have been helpful in developing drugs, have a great deal of knowledge about how drugs are developed and carry on involvement with potentially a start up company that is developing drugs that they may have founded, should they be allowed to continue with that?’

The Cabinet minister said a key question is whether it is ‘useful for a member of Parliament to know about different areas and different activities’. 

He continued: ‘And if you can’t draw the line other than you shouldn’t do paid lobbying, how will we decide Labour’s motion?

‘Is it going to be you can do whatever Keir Starmer does but you can’t do any more? Is that what they are proposing?

‘So I think drawing lines is extraordinarily difficult and what do voters want? Well they want MPs with experience who contribute.’ 

Mr Rees-Mogg said the current rules on paid lobbying are ‘really clear and really important’ but ‘in terms of outside interests it is a much more complex question’. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg humbly admitted he had made a ‘mistake’ in pushing the retrospective overhaul of the standards system, as he urged members to vote for a motion that would official scrap the changes and rebuke Owen Paterson

Former PM Theresa May also waded in during the Commons debate by condemning the government’s behaviour as ‘ill-judged and just plain wrong’

Number 10 had said this morning that it would wait to see the exact wording of what Labour was proposing before commenting in detail.      

Asked what the PM’s view was on MPs holding consultancies and directorships, his spokesman said: ‘I think the Prime Minister has given his view that an MP’s primary job is and must be to serve their constituencies and represent their interests in Parliament.

‘They should be visible in their constituencies and available to help their constituents with any matters of concern.’    

Tory MPs could lose income worth £1.7m a year under consultancy ban

As many as 50 Tory MPs could lose a combined income of £1.7million a year under the proposed ban on consultancy work.

Analysis of the Commons Register of Member’s Interests carried out by the Labour Party shows those who stand to lose out.

Name of MP  

     

John Redwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

   

Mark Garnier

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Hammond 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Fuller

 

 

 

 Chris Grayling

 

 Sajid Javid

 

 

Bill Wiggin

 

 

     

John Hayes

 

 

 

   

Julian Smith

 

 

 

 

 Steve Brine

 

 

 

 

David Davis

 

 

 

  

Tim Loughton 

 

   

Kevin Hollingrake

 

  

Nusrat Ghani

 

 

 

 

Alun Cairns

 

 

Iain Duncan Smith

 

 

 

 

Mike Penning

 

   

Jake Berry 

 

 

Damian Green    

 

 

Ruth Edwards

 

 

Daniel Kawczynski

 

 

Edward Leigh

 

 

Natalie Elphicke

 

 

Bim Afolami 

 

 

Mark Pawsey

 

   

Tracey Crouch

 

 

 

Andrew Percy

 

 

 

 Laurence Robertson

 

 

Andrea Jenkyns

 

   

Mark Pritchard

 

 

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown    

 

 

Greg Knight

 

 

 

  Andrew Lewer

 

 

 

 

Graham Brady

 

 

   

Bob Neill 

 

 

 

Philip Dunne

 

 

Andrew Bridgen

   

Liam Fox

   

Crispin Blunt 

 

 

 

 John Howell

 

 

Alex Burghart

 

 

Ben Everitt

 

Amanda Solloway

 

 

Philip Davies

 

 

Daniel Poulter

 

 

Julian Sturdy

 

 

Damian Collins

 

 

Chris Skidmore

 

Russell Dean 

 

Job and firm 

 

Member of the Advisory Board of EPIC Private Equity;

Chairman of Investment Committee of Charles Stanley  

 

Senior adviser to Investec;

Senior adviser to Montrose Associates;

Consultant with Ernst & Young;

Arch Emerging Partners adviser;

Senior adviser on African matters to SouthBridge;

Senior adviser to Kingsley Capital Partners 

 

Principal Speaker for BRI Wealth Management plc;

Advisory Board of Laser Light Communications;

Chair of the Advisory Board of the Shetland Space Centre

 

Chair of the Infrastructure Policy Board, and Joint Chairman of the Policy Board, Public Policy Projects;

Strategic Advisor to Darwin Alternative Investments;

Non- Executive Director, Optibiotix Health plc (life sciences)

 

Chairman of OpSec Security;

Impero Solutions Ltd;

Advisory Director of Investcorp Securities Ltd

 

Strategic Adviser to Hutchison Ports Europe   

 

J.P. Morgan EMEA Advisory Council

Non-executive director of Allpay Limited;

Managing director of Emerging Asset Management Ltd   

 

President of HBSA, which provides technical and vocational education;

Strategic Adviser to BB Energy Trading Ltd

   

Ryse Hydrogen Ltd;

Simply Blue Management (UK) Ltd;

MJM Marine Ltd (marine refurbishment and fitting, property and renewables)

 

Strategic Adviser to Remedium Partners (permanent healthcare recruitment);

Strategic Adviser to Microlink PC;

Strategic Adviser to Sigma (pharmaceuticals)

 

Member of the Advisory Board of THI Holdings GmbH;

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Kohlgartenstrasse 1

   

Adviser to the Board of the Outcomes First Group;

Chairman of the Quality and Safeguarding Board    

 

Director of Hunters Property Plc

 

 

Non-executive Chairman of the Belfast Consortium Supervisory Board of Artemis Technologies Ltd

 

Senior Adviser to BBI Group;

Senior Adviser to Veezu Holdings Ltd;

Adviser to Elite Partners Capital Pte Ltd  

 

Member of the International Advisory Board of Tunstall Health Group Ltd;

Adviser to the Board of Byotrol Technology Ltd

 

Non-Executive Director of JT Consultancy Ltd;

Non-Executive Director of Law Abroad Ltd    

 

Strategic corporate advice to Squire Patton Boggs (law firm)

   

Abellio Transport Holdings (rail and bus operator)         
   

 

Adviser to MHR International UK Ltd

 

 

Consultant providing general advice to The Electrum Group LLC

   

Non-executive director of Europe Arab Bank

 

 

Chair of the New Homes Quality Board  

 

Non-executive director of Apprentify Limited

 

 

Chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association

 

Independent Non-Executive Director of British Racing’s Horse Welfare Board   

 

 

Advisory Board for Cumberland Strategies;

Advisory Board of Iogen Corporation (Canada)

 

 Parliamentary Adviser on Sport and Safer Gambling to the Betting and Gaming Council

 

Director of the National Centre for Higher Education Policy

 

 

Consultant offering general advice to the Consumer Credit Association (CCA)

 

Partner in East Beckham partnership, engaged in arable farming in Norfolk

 

Adviser on by Cambridge and Counties Bank Ltd

 

Consultant providing public policy advice to Drakelow Development Holdings Ltd;

Advice to Penelope Thornton Hotels Limited;

Senior Counsel to GIN Property Ltd c/o Broughton Lambert Accountants

 

Adviser on communications and marketing strategy to Snowshill Allied Holdings Ltd;

Primary Access and Research

 

Consultant to Weightmans LLP;

Consultant to the Substantia Group        

 

 

Non-Executive Director of Reaction Engines Ltd

 

Adviser to Mere Plantations Ltd

 

WorldPR

   

 

A Director of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians;

Oversight Board Member of Stay Belvedere Hotels Ltd

 

Associate of SP Broadway Ltd (communications company)

 

Non-Executive Director of New Scientist Ltd

 

Strategic adviser, retained via Weble Ltd, to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

 

Director from Amanda Solloway Ltd (learning consultancy)

 

Parliamentary Adviser on Pawnbroking to the National Pawnbroking Association  

 

Non-executive Director of Kanabo Group PLC  

 

G E Sturdy and Son; a farming partnership

 

Member of the Advisory Board of the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society

 

Advisory Board Member, Oxford International Education Group     

 

EPIFNY Consulting Ltd 

 2021 income

   

£194,810

 

 

 

 

 

 

 £115,833

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 £82,500

 

 

 

 

 

 £81,666 

 

 

 

 

£79,899 

 

 

 

 £75,000

 

 £75,000

 

   

£68,058.79

 

 

   

£64,166

 

 

 

 

£64,000

 

 

 

 

 £48,666.00

 

 

 

 

 

 £42,373

 

 

 

£41,249.00 

 

   

£40,333

 

   

£40,000

 

 

 

£37,500 

 

 

   

£37,499

 

 

 

 

£36,660

 

   

£35,000

 

 

£33,333

 

 

£30,000

 

 

£30,000

 

 

£28,500

 

 

£27,000

 

 

£25,000

 

 

£25,000

 

 

£22,500

 

 

 

£20,840

 

 

   

 

£20,000

 

£16,666

 

 

 

£15,000

 

£13,412.75

 

 

£13,333

 

 

 

 £12,300

 

           

 

 

£12,200 

 

 

   

£11,250 

 

     

 

£10,200

 

 

£10,000

 

£10,000

 

 

 

£8,333.46 

 

 

£8,000

 

 

£7,500

 

   

£7,500

 

 

£6,510

 

£6,000

 

 

£6,000

 

 

£5,000

 

 

£4,500  

 

 

£4,166   

 

£2,100 

 

 

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