D H
Nov 5 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

Does the House of Commons need tighter regulations surrounding minister’s second jobs?

In October 2021 Owen Paterson, former Conservative MP for North Shropshire was found guilty of breaking advocacy rules in parliament, with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards ruling that he had "egregiously breached" lobbying restrictions on numerous occasions for two companies. Paterson had taken thousands for pounds from healthcare company Randox and Northern Irish food manufacturer Lynn's Country Foods for lobbying work while he was a Member of Parliament using his position, contacts and time as a government minister to lobby for these private firms. For this Paterson was due to be suspended for only 30 days, however Boris Johnson issued a three-line whip and forced the conservative majority to back an emergency amendment to delay Paterson's suspension, and completely replace the Parliamentary Commission for Standards with a Select Committee compromised mainly of Conservative MPs. Following a massive public and media outcry Paterson resigned, but this alarming attempt to double down on cronyism/corruption was clearly a moral red line for the overwhelming majority. But with so many other similar cases unfolding throughout the pandemic, should MPs be taking greater steps to avoid the perception, or indeed the reality, that they are using their public position for private gain? Does the House of Commons need tighter regulations surrounding minister’s second jobs and/or lobbying work?
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Yes – clearly
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Yes – clearly

The latest Tory sleaze scandal is shocking, the fact that the Conservative party could seriously attempt to abandon the normal checks and balances and replace the committee on standards with their own effective kangaroo court, is a new low for the UK government. However this is not a one off, there has been a pattern of cronyism, lobbying, and corruption scandals taking place throughout Boris Johnson's time as Prime Minister. Sir John Henry Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings in Lincolnshire has received £150,000 since 2018 from a fossil fuel company for lobbying efforts, ministers already make £80,000 more than double the national average, and there should be no need for this kind of corrupt behaviour.

Should a climate sceptic politician be allowed to be paid by a company that will directly benefit from climate scepticism? During a global pandemic should the huge number of Conservative MPs that bypassed bidding procedures to fast-track companies of friends, family, and people who had made political contributions be allowed to continue cosplaying as "public servants"? There have been so many profiteering scandals throughout the COVID pandemic on top of one of the worst examples to pandemic response globally has just been a massive kick in the teeth for the entire country. This needs to be the last straw but Paterson's case is just the tip of the iceberg and the Tories are doubling down, clearly more regulation of this lobbying loophole is needed.

Even the thirty day suspension given to Paterson before he resigned was just an effective paid holiday for someone like him that earns $80,000 from taxpayers, and £100,000 for private lobbying, parliamentary rules clearly need reform. OpenDemocracy have found that MPs in the Conservative Party have earned an additional £6 million from secondary jobs during the COVID pandemic. If they are receiving nearly twice the money from private firms as from taxpayers, where do their allegiances really lie, and who are they really going to be representing and working for?

opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/tory-mp-calling-for-delay-to-uk-climate-action-has-banked-150k-from-oil-firm/?utm_campaign=Weekly%20flagship%20newsletter%20%2830%2010%202021%29%20%28X3JVHV%29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter%3A%20oD%20weekly&_kx=gwVOTIPo3IkyjuAX_8oHY1LxIwlmk3za1-bwkLtJG-hUks80d5eeQosUxA8e_RtM.YjCYwm uk.jobted.com/salary theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/04/why-did-owen-paterson-resign-and-what-happens-next en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_contracts_in_the_United_Kingdom opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/mps-net-6m-from-second-jobs-since-pandemic-began/?utm_campaign=Weekly%20flagship%20newsletter%20%2806%2011%202021%29%20%28QWYcLZ%29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter%3A%20oD%20weekly&_kx=gwVOTIPo3IkyjuAX_8oHY1LxIwlmk3za1-bwkLtJG-hUks80d5eeQosUxA8e_RtM.YjCYwm

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Nov 17
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DH edited this paragraph
Even the thirty day suspension given to Paterson before he resigned was just an effective paid holiday for someone like him that earns $80,000 from taxpayers, and £100,000 for private lobbying, parliamentary rules clearly need reform. OpenDemocracy have found that MPs in the Conservative Party have earned an additional £6 million from secondary jobs during the COVID pandemic. If they are receiving nearly twice the money from private firms as from taxpayers, where do their allegiances really lie, and who are they really going to be representing and working for?
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