The government opposes the plan to limit MPs’ income from second jobs

A few months after Boris Johnson promised to crack down on politicians who were “neglecting their electoral responsibilities”, the government was opposed to a plan to limit MPs’ earnings from second jobs.

The ministers told the Commons Standards Committee that restrictions on what MPs could spend on outside work or what they could earn from other jobs would be “impractical”. The committee is discussing tougher rules after a bitter dispute last year where Wayne Patterson left the Commons in a lobbying scandal.

Efforts to amend the Downing Street Standard to help Patterson have closely monitored the behavior of his colleagues, including Sir Geoffrey Cox, who has paid around িয়ন 6 million for legal work since becoming an MP.

The government has stated that “certain restrictions” on time or earnings will not necessarily address the recent concerns about paid advocacy and MPs’ primary responsibility to serve their constituents. This type of work is ‘appropriate’, even if it does not constitute ‘paid advocacy’. “

In a joint submission to the committee, Steve Berkeley, the prime minister’s chief of staff, and Mark Spencer, the leader of the House of Commons, wrote: Earnings from activities such as book writing, for example, will not prevent members from fulfilling their primary responsibility towards their constituents. “

In November, while urging the Sari government on outside earnings, Boris Johnson called for rules to ensure that “those MPs who are neglecting their responsibilities towards their election and putting outside interests first” have been given “appropriate punishment”. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Rabb suggested that the government back a time limit or income cap, saying: “You can do it in one of two ways, you can do it by quantity or you can do it by number of hours.”

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan called for 10 to 15 hours a week for outside work.

Lord Evans of Weirdell, chairman of the Committee on the Quality of Life, urged MPs to “set an indicative limit on hours and wages, with a rebuttable assumption that it would be unreasonable to pay for employment outside this limit.”

But the government’s submission to the Standards Committee, first reported by The Guardian, rejected the idea, which the committee said could only be introduced if there was “broad cross-party support”.

Berkeley and Spencer say they still support reforms that “limit the type of outside work MPs can do.” They opposed the committee’s suggestion that MPs could be referred to the parliamentary commissioner for their conduct in the House of Commons and questioned the idea of ​​barring MPs from “being subjected to unreasonable and excessive personal attacks by any means”.

Such a provision, the government said, “will inadvertently have a cooling effect on debates outside parliament, whether in person or online”.

Dozens of MPs, mostly conservative, have responded to the committee’s advice with criticism of the proposed rule changes, particularly the proposal to ban “unreasonable and excessive personal attacks.”

Aaron Bell, a Conservative MP, said the suggestion “amounts to a land grab by a parliamentary commissioner for criteria, which seems to envisage MPs to have a jurisdictional role as judges in all aspects of public life”.

Another Conservative MP, Alex Burgart, said the proposal would create a “real danger” that members would refrain from making statements about other people for fear that the judge would consider them “unreasonable” or “excessive.”


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