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Consultation on MPs’ second jobs welcomed

11th October 2016, London  Transparency International UK (TI-UK) welcomes the consultation launched yesterday by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards into the rules on second jobs for MPs.

The Commissioner is proposing that “A Member who undertakes outside employment must ensure that is does not conflict with his or her responsibilities under the Code of Conduct”. The proposed changes come in the wake of recent scandals, including the Straw-Rifkind affair.

Research published by Transparency International UK in 2015 found that 73 MPs received over £3.4million in fees for external advisory roles between 2014-15, which presents a potential conflict of interest. Although MPs are banned from lobbying on behalf of external interests, they are still allowed to advise them on Parliamentary affairs. This is banned in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

It also found the UK Government’s register of consultant lobbyists only covered less than 4% of the lobbying industry and provided no useful information about who’s trying to influence UK politics.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

 “In recent years UK politics has been mired in scandals, which have left many wondering just who their MPs work for. Our latest Global Corruption Barometer shows that over a quarter of UK respondents thought ‘most’ or ‘all” MPs were involved in corruption, which shows a worrying loss of trust in Members of Parliament. This consultation by the Parliamentary Commissioner is timely considering the urgent need for reform.”

“The proposed change on MPs’ second jobs is a step in the right direction, but leaves wide open questions about what conflict would be an obstacle to such employment. The Scottish Parliament has been explicit in preventing their members from providing Parliamentary advice in return for reward. It would be much clearer for everyone, MPs included, if the UK Parliament did the same, as a matter of priority.”

 “As we re-negotiate our relationship with Europe there will be a flood of commercial lobbying of Whitehall and Westminster seeking to influence policy and regulations. More than ever, Parliament needs to make sure it has robust rules in place, to ensure that it is the public interest not private interest that is served.”

***ENDS***

Contact:
Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
020 3096 7695
0796 456 0340

Notes: The Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament: 5.1.6 “…members 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 the Parliament and its members.” http://www.parliament.scot/Parliamentaryprocedureandguidance/CCEd06Rev01201605.pdf

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Read 71 times Last modified on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 16:18

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