labour-to-force-vote-on-banning-mps-from-‘dodgy-second-jobs’

Labour to force vote on banning MPs from ‘dodgy second jobs’

Labour will force a Commons vote this week on whether MPs should be banned from taking paid consultancies or directorships, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader said his party will aim to “clean up” politics after the lobbying scandal which reared its head following the case of former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson.

Sir Keir said Labour will table a motion on the matter for their opposition day debate on Wednesday, arguing that there should be a ban on some second jobs for MPs.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, making a statement in the House of Commons in London ahead of a emergency debate relating to standards.

Image:
Labour will table a motion on Wednesday on whether MPs should have second jobs with directorships or consultancies

It is unclear whether the vote would carry any legal weight, however it is understood the Labour party are trying to draft the motion in a way which would make the result binding if it is passed.

“We are putting that down. It is for every MP to decide how they want to vote on that. That will perhaps be a measure of where people are on how we actually move this forward,” Sir Keir said during a phone in on LBC.

“How do we clean this up? We clean this up by drawing a very stark line – no paid consultancies, no directorships.”

It comes as MPs are expected to support a motion which would reverse plans to review the MPs’ standards investigation process.

Earlier this month, Conservative MPs were given a three-line whip to support a proposal to set up a new committee, chaired by a Tory MP, to draw up plans for a new appeals system.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

PM refuses to apologise in sleaze row

However, only 250 MPs backed the proposal and opposition MPs vowed to boycott the committee before Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg announced a U-turn, saying any reforms to the standards system would need cross-party support.

MPs also chose not to back the cross-party Standards Committee’s call for a six-week ban from Parliament for Mr Paterson, but hours later he resigned as an MP saying the situation had become too much for his family.

Despite Mr Paterson’s resignation, the House is still expected to this week endorse the finding that he broke Commons rules by repeatedly lobbying ministers and officials on behalf of two firms which he worked for as a paid consultant.

At the time of the U-turn, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay, at the despatch box in lieu of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, admitted the government “made a mistake”.

But other Tory MPs said that did not go far enough, with former chief whip Mark Harper calling on Mr Johnson to make a formal apology.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Govt ‘needs to do better’ on sleaze

While the PM has refused to apologise for the situation, he has said it is “very important” to get the standards system right.

At a Downing Street news conference on Sunday, Mr Johnson acknowledged he could have handled the situation better.

“Of course, I think things could certainly have been handled better, let me put it that way, by me,” he said.

But speaking to reporters during a visit to a medical centre in Forest Gate, east London on Monday, the PM refused to be drawn on the continuing row over MPs’ standards.

“I just want to salute you and the media for keeping going on this,” the PM said.

“I’m here to talk about boosters and urge people to come forward and get their boosters.”

Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson leaves 10 Downing Street after a cabinet meeting, in central London, June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Image:
Owen Paterson resigned as MP amid the lobbying scandal

The motion comes after Labour last week published data showing Conservative MPs received more than £1.7m in consultancy fees since the start of the year and that 50 Tory backbenchers and former ministers had been paid by management or consultancy firms.

Sir Keir said: “It should be a point of consensus that paid directorships and commercial consultancies are not jobs for MPs.

“It was the prime minister’s decisions which have led to this scandal. He has repeatedly failed in his leadership over this issue.

“Boris Johnson now has a choice: support Labour’s plan to fix this or whip his MPs to vote against a ban on dodgy second jobs for MPs and a cover-up on the Owen Paterson scandal.”