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Honourable Members? – politicalbetting.com

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited November 12 in General
imageHonourable Members? – politicalbetting.com

“The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons“. Such might be the reaction to the Prime Minister’s assertion this week that Britain was “not remotely a corrupt country” and that he did not believe that “our institutions are corrupt“. Mandy Rice-Davies’ response comes to mind. Still, there is something impressive in the way he asserted that MPs breaking the rules should be investigated and punished barely days after having whipped his MPs into voting for the precise opposite for the errant Mr Paterson. That really is taking his famous lack of attention to detail to another level. But here we are. Less than a month after the murder of Sir David Amess, an MP whose hard work, openness and devotion to his constituents reminded us both of the price of public service and the good it can do, the Tory party is once again facing accusations of sleaze, corruption, favours for money, using public office for private gain and a de haut en bas disregard for the rules. It is all wearily familiar. How can we be going through this again despite all the changes in rules, the Nolan Principles for public life, the Commissioners, the Registers etc?

Read the full story here

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Comments

  • Alphabet_SoupAlphabet_Soup Posts: 1,138
    edited November 12
    Could have been second like Ishmael.
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 9,575
    a comment.
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 9,575

    Could have been second.

    Yes, jumped the gun completely. You must feel very silly.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449
    Mm, interesting. Thank you.

    I had to look up the quote - Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay 'Worship'.

    "See what allowance vice finds in the respectable and wellconditioned class. If a pickpocket intrude into the society of gentlemen, they exert what moral force they have, and he finds himself uncomfortable, and glad to get away. But if an adventurer go through all the forms, procure himself to be elected to a post of trust, as of senator, or president,—though by the same arts as we detest in the house-thief,—the same gentlemen who agree to discountenance the private rogue will be forward to show civilities and marks of respect to the public one: and no amount of evidence of his crimes will prevent them giving him ovations, complimentary dinners, opening their own houses to him, and priding themselves on his acquaintance. We were not deceived by the professions of the private adventurer,the louder he talked of his honour the faster we counted our spoons; but we appeal to the sanctified preamble of the messages and proclamations of the public sinner, as the proof of sincerity. It must be that they who pay this homage have said to themselves, On the whole, we don't know about this that you call honesty; a bird in the hand is better."
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 9,575
    Carnyx said:

    Mm, interesting. Thank you.

    I had to look up the quote - Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay 'Worship'.

    "See what allowance vice finds in the respectable and wellconditioned class. If a pickpocket intrude into the society of gentlemen, they exert what moral force they have, and he finds himself uncomfortable, and glad to get away. But if an adventurer go through all the forms, procure himself to be elected to a post of trust, as of senator, or president,—though by the same arts as we detest in the house-thief,—the same gentlemen who agree to discountenance the private rogue will be forward to show civilities and marks of respect to the public one: and no amount of evidence of his crimes will prevent them giving him ovations, complimentary dinners, opening their own houses to him, and priding themselves on his acquaintance. We were not deceived by the professions of the private adventurer,the louder he talked of his honour the faster we counted our spoons; but we appeal to the sanctified preamble of the messages and proclamations of the public sinner, as the proof of sincerity. It must be that they who pay this homage have said to themselves, On the whole, we don't know about this that you call honesty; a bird in the hand is better."

    With hat tip to Samuel Johnson: “If he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.”
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 20,848
    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449

    Sandpit said:

    tlg86 said:

    https://order-order.com/2021/11/12/new-galloway-files-legal-challenge-of-batley-by-election-over-labours-failure-to-declare-use-of-mps-offices-to-phone-bank/

    If the use of the offices wasn’t declared, how does Galloway (and Guido by the sounds of it) know that this happened?

    As with Geoffrey Trough the proof is self-evident - photos published by the MPs.

    The question is of course how much under the legal spend limit are they? And how much weight would the court place on conducting a phone bank from 1 location or another? Does "I am calling from the office of MP x" win the election in a way that "I am calling on behalf of x" wouldn't?

    Can't see how Galloway gets the result overturned, and even if he did the by-election will be a thumping reinforcement of the overturned result as they always are. He's clearly having fun sticking it to his former party though!
    Using government premises (and possibly phone lines) for party political activity is definitely against the rules, as is failing to declare use of the offices in question as costs in kind on the return form.

    Whether or not these are serious enough to overturn the result, well IANAL but it seems unlikely several months later.
    I was looking specifically at the by-election. Looking at the screen grab I'm not clear that any of those MPs are in Portcullis House which was the Cox transgression. You absolutely can use your constituency office for party work - the party has to pay a notional amount for rent and it all needs to be declared.

    So if they're in constituencies I don't think its the same offence. It isn't a "you cannot" like with Portcullis House. Just that you need to declare it. I assume they are getting money in from their CLPs (?) so not declaring it is bloody stupid.
    FPT I believe using constituency offices for party work is forbidden in Scotland - but it may be the case for primarily MSPs and therefore also for those MPs who share an office with them (or indeed are one and the same). WE discussed this recently, when someone was surprised Alastair Carmichael didn't have LD posters up on his office in Kirkwall, Mainland of Orkney.
  • Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
  • Ron Flowers has died at 87

    🙏
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 68,402
    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449
    Bush of the Staggers's morning email today:

    "The obvious button to press to bring this story to an end is a ban on outside consultancies and sharp limits on second jobs full stop - something that would hit a lot of Conservative MPs in their wallets and be a particular source of resentment given his [BJ's] own record.[...]

    But what would worry me in their shoes is the story that might well blow second jobs off the agenda: inflation. Even if the spike in inflation does prove to be transient, a painful 2022 may well be on the way for most households: and if the average voter finds themselves struggling to make ends meet while second-jobbing and other side-hustles continue unabated in Parliament, the political pain of the Paterson fiasco may have longer to run than Johnson and his associates believe."
  • Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    My concern is that unless we are careful we are going to make being an MP very undesirable and lose a lot of expertise in the process
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,931

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 12,634
    edited November 12

    Ron Flowers has died at 87

    🙏

    From an era when footballers retired into sports goods retail.

    Happier days.

    Excellent thread header btw
  • TheWhiteRabbitTheWhiteRabbit Posts: 11,589
    S2E3 - President Bartlett refuses to make campaign calls from the West Wing, on the basis they are party and not Presidential business.
  • Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 30,177
    Carnyx said:

    Sandpit said:

    tlg86 said:

    https://order-order.com/2021/11/12/new-galloway-files-legal-challenge-of-batley-by-election-over-labours-failure-to-declare-use-of-mps-offices-to-phone-bank/

    If the use of the offices wasn’t declared, how does Galloway (and Guido by the sounds of it) know that this happened?

    As with Geoffrey Trough the proof is self-evident - photos published by the MPs.

    The question is of course how much under the legal spend limit are they? And how much weight would the court place on conducting a phone bank from 1 location or another? Does "I am calling from the office of MP x" win the election in a way that "I am calling on behalf of x" wouldn't?

    Can't see how Galloway gets the result overturned, and even if he did the by-election will be a thumping reinforcement of the overturned result as they always are. He's clearly having fun sticking it to his former party though!
    Using government premises (and possibly phone lines) for party political activity is definitely against the rules, as is failing to declare use of the offices in question as costs in kind on the return form.

    Whether or not these are serious enough to overturn the result, well IANAL but it seems unlikely several months later.
    I was looking specifically at the by-election. Looking at the screen grab I'm not clear that any of those MPs are in Portcullis House which was the Cox transgression. You absolutely can use your constituency office for party work - the party has to pay a notional amount for rent and it all needs to be declared.

    So if they're in constituencies I don't think its the same offence. It isn't a "you cannot" like with Portcullis House. Just that you need to declare it. I assume they are getting money in from their CLPs (?) so not declaring it is bloody stupid.
    FPT I believe using constituency offices for party work is forbidden in Scotland - but it may be the case for primarily MSPs and therefore also for those MPs who share an office with them (or indeed are one and the same). WE discussed this recently, when someone was surprised Alastair Carmichael didn't have LD posters up on his office in Kirkwall, Mainland of Orkney.
    One wonders in the case of one recently ennobled MSP who didn't use her constituency office for surgeries and if she couldn't use it for party work, what exactly was she using it for?
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 20,848
    Nigelb said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
    I'm sorry about that. I like sheep. They've been my constant companions these past two years.

    Though spraying MPs with an anti-parasite dip may be worth considering ......
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Is writing a book with a contract an outside job? Is taking money from a TV company for appearances on a show? Is gaining a few quid from ads on a hobby website? Writing for a newspaper? Getting income for work with a union?

    When people are determined to find sinners, they'll find sin in all of us.

    I also don't like the idea that some jobs should be 'acceptable' whilst others are not, everything else being the same.

    Having said that, I don't know what the answer is.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449

    Carnyx said:

    Sandpit said:

    tlg86 said:

    https://order-order.com/2021/11/12/new-galloway-files-legal-challenge-of-batley-by-election-over-labours-failure-to-declare-use-of-mps-offices-to-phone-bank/

    If the use of the offices wasn’t declared, how does Galloway (and Guido by the sounds of it) know that this happened?

    As with Geoffrey Trough the proof is self-evident - photos published by the MPs.

    The question is of course how much under the legal spend limit are they? And how much weight would the court place on conducting a phone bank from 1 location or another? Does "I am calling from the office of MP x" win the election in a way that "I am calling on behalf of x" wouldn't?

    Can't see how Galloway gets the result overturned, and even if he did the by-election will be a thumping reinforcement of the overturned result as they always are. He's clearly having fun sticking it to his former party though!
    Using government premises (and possibly phone lines) for party political activity is definitely against the rules, as is failing to declare use of the offices in question as costs in kind on the return form.

    Whether or not these are serious enough to overturn the result, well IANAL but it seems unlikely several months later.
    I was looking specifically at the by-election. Looking at the screen grab I'm not clear that any of those MPs are in Portcullis House which was the Cox transgression. You absolutely can use your constituency office for party work - the party has to pay a notional amount for rent and it all needs to be declared.

    So if they're in constituencies I don't think its the same offence. It isn't a "you cannot" like with Portcullis House. Just that you need to declare it. I assume they are getting money in from their CLPs (?) so not declaring it is bloody stupid.
    FPT I believe using constituency offices for party work is forbidden in Scotland - but it may be the case for primarily MSPs and therefore also for those MPs who share an office with them (or indeed are one and the same). WE discussed this recently, when someone was surprised Alastair Carmichael didn't have LD posters up on his office in Kirkwall, Mainland of Orkney.
    One wonders in the case of one recently ennobled MSP who didn't use her constituency office for surgeries and if she couldn't use it for party work, what exactly was she using it for?
    If I can make a very rough guess as to whom the person just might possibly be, then that MSP was a list MSP and IIRC that doesn't attract specific funding - but then became a constituency MSP for 5 years.

    TBF however, there is more to a constituency office than somewhere to admit the schemies, Multrees Walk matrons, and other hoi polloi. You need somewhere to put the bod who answers the phone and the emails.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675
    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449
    Cyclefree said:

    Nigelb said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
    I'm sorry about that. I like sheep. They've been my constant companions these past two years.

    Though spraying MPs with an anti-parasite dip may be worth considering ......
    Doing it the old way, herding with ankle-biting collies through an oirganophosphorus solution in a head deep concrete trough, would perhaps be a little unkind.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449

    Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    I believe this was enshrined at the foundation of the NHS. 'Stopping their mouths with gold' and all that.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Who approves? If the party, then that puts a heck of a lot of extra power in the hands of the whips, and probably wouldn't work anyway. An external party would soon be leaking stuff like: "MP x is looking for a job earning £y..."
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 34,925
    edited November 12

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    My concern is that unless we are careful we are going to make being an MP very undesirable and lose a lot of expertise in the process
    It’s a fine line. Obviously someone working as a doctor or a lawyer for a few hours a week is fine; if we had an MP who was an airline pilot or an air traffic controller, they would have to do a few shifts a month in order to remain certified.

    The test in the header is a good one, is this person being employed *because* they are an MP?

    This applies to all these non-exec directorships, government relations, advisor, political consultant etc jobs. There’s plenty of former MPs who can do those, for companies or organisations who need political advise.

    The edge cases will be such advisor positions for non-profit organisations, or trades unions, media work, or where the MP was already a political advisor or lobbyist before entering Parliament.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884
    edited November 12
    Carnyx said:

    Bush of the Staggers's morning email today:

    "The obvious button to press to bring this story to an end is a ban on outside consultancies and sharp limits on second jobs full stop - something that would hit a lot of Conservative MPs in their wallets and be a particular source of resentment given his [BJ's] own record.[...]

    But what would worry me in their shoes is the story that might well blow second jobs off the agenda: inflation. Even if the spike in inflation does prove to be transient, a painful 2022 may well be on the way for most households: and if the average voter finds themselves struggling to make ends meet while second-jobbing and other side-hustles continue unabated in Parliament, the political pain of the Paterson fiasco may have longer to run than Johnson and his associates believe."

    What will do for them (not that they're not done for already) is the figures involved.

    £50,000 for X days work...£1m per year...£35,000 for....

    This will make people sit up and take note as it brings the reality closer to home.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,931
    Cyclefree said:

    Nigelb said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
    I'm sorry about that. I like sheep. They've been my constant companions these past two years.

    Though spraying MPs with an anti-parasite dip may be worth considering ......
    It would certainly thin the numbers.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449
    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    The wealthier they are, the more interest (in more senses) they have in public fiscal policy. I find it deeply troubling that people as wealthy as Mr Sunak are allowed to be Chancellor, simply because of that unavoidable conflict of interest. (NB: this is not a specific criticism of Mr Sunak, but a wider principle.)

    Someone the other day made similar remarks about MPs and the London housing market.
  • If I were being cynical I'd say that one of the reasons that Boris is offering no defence of Cox is that he's rather pleased that it is distracting people from the real scandal which is lobbying.

    The fact that an MP earns extra money from being a doctor or a solicitor is not inherently wrong. It might raise questions about time spent on Commons business but that's for the electorate to decide. Who can say whether Geoffrey Cox is less effective for his constituents than an MP who spends all day dozing on the back benches.

    What stinks is using the prestige and access of being an MP to further the interests of a particular firm or body. Tighten up the rules and actually enforce them and then MPs can work whatever job they like.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,931

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Is writing a book with a contract an outside job? Is taking money from a TV company for appearances on a show? Is gaining a few quid from ads on a hobby website? Writing for a newspaper? Getting income for work with a union?

    When people are determined to find sinners, they'll find sin in all of us.

    I also don't like the idea that some jobs should be 'acceptable' whilst others are not, everything else being the same.

    Having said that, I don't know what the answer is.
    It’s not the simplest of lines to draw.
    But being a paid lobbyist should very obviously be on the wrong side.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 12,634
    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    If it conflicts with their role as an MP, certainly not. So the best solution is a blanket ban on all second, third and fourth incomes.

    I'm not averse to paying MPs more, should the case be made.

    It you want to make an exception for altruism, i.e Allin -Khan and other clinical practitioners through the pandemic, they could do it gratis.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675
    Carnyx said:

    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    The wealthier they are, the more interest (in more senses) they have in public fiscal policy. I find it deeply troubling that people as wealthy as Mr Sunak are allowed to be Chancellor, simply because of that unavoidable conflict of interest. (NB: this is not a specific criticism of Mr Sunak, but a wider principle.)

    Someone the other day made similar remarks about MPs and the London housing market.
    Good luck with doing anything about that.

    What I find more troubling is members of the Monetary Policy Committee having an interest in house prices and mortgages rates.
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 20,848
    edited November 12

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Who approves? If the party, then that puts a heck of a lot of extra power in the hands of the whips, and probably wouldn't work anyway. An external party would soon be leaking stuff like: "MP x is looking for a job earning £y..."
    Who approves? The Independent Commissioner - in line with the rules and principles set out in the policy.

    Honestly, this is not hard. We had just such a policy at my last employers. Everyone had to sign up to it and declare any interest, save those that were permitted (a v small list) and get approval in writing. If that approval was not given or given wrongly then there would be disciplinary proceedings. For both the person taking the job and the person wrongly approving it.

    It reverses the assumption that as soon as you get a well paid and prestigious job, you immediately start looking for other even more lucrative sources of income which risk undermining your ability to do your main job and the trust voters have placed in you.

    It's absurd. It wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere. It shouldn't be tolerated for MPs.

    PS And a Commissioner with integrity would not leak.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675

    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    If it conflicts with their role as an MP, certainly not. So the best solution is a blanket ban on all second, third and fourth incomes.

    I'm not averse to paying MPs more, should the case be made.

    It you want to make an exception for altruism, i.e Allin -Khan and other clinical practitioners through the pandemic, they could do it gratis.
    Should the husband/wife of an MP be allowed to own shares?
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 16,837
    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449

    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds

    Doesn't that happen already, in effect?
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 20,848
    Sandpit said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    My concern is that unless we are careful we are going to make being an MP very undesirable and lose a lot of expertise in the process
    It’s a fine line. Obviously someone working as a doctor or a lawyer for a few hours a week is fine; if we had an MP who was an airline pilot or an air traffic controller, they would have to do a few shifts a month in order to remain certified.

    The test in the header is a good one, is this person being employed *because* they are an MP?

    This applies to all these non-exec directorships, government relations, advisor, political consultant etc jobs. There’s plenty of former MPs who can do those, for companies or organisations who need political advise.

    The edge cases will be such advisor positions for non-profit organisations, or trades unions, media work, or where the MP was already a political advisor or lobbyist before entering Parliament.
    If they were a political advisor beforehand they don't continue doing it. They are now an MP. That is what they are paid for - to be a politician. If a lobbyist - ditto. Lobbying for money is a no-no.
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 7,128
    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    This is the key thing. Get this in place and most of the problems will go away.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 30,177
    Carnyx said:

    Carnyx said:

    Sandpit said:

    tlg86 said:

    https://order-order.com/2021/11/12/new-galloway-files-legal-challenge-of-batley-by-election-over-labours-failure-to-declare-use-of-mps-offices-to-phone-bank/

    If the use of the offices wasn’t declared, how does Galloway (and Guido by the sounds of it) know that this happened?

    As with Geoffrey Trough the proof is self-evident - photos published by the MPs.

    The question is of course how much under the legal spend limit are they? And how much weight would the court place on conducting a phone bank from 1 location or another? Does "I am calling from the office of MP x" win the election in a way that "I am calling on behalf of x" wouldn't?

    Can't see how Galloway gets the result overturned, and even if he did the by-election will be a thumping reinforcement of the overturned result as they always are. He's clearly having fun sticking it to his former party though!
    Using government premises (and possibly phone lines) for party political activity is definitely against the rules, as is failing to declare use of the offices in question as costs in kind on the return form.

    Whether or not these are serious enough to overturn the result, well IANAL but it seems unlikely several months later.
    I was looking specifically at the by-election. Looking at the screen grab I'm not clear that any of those MPs are in Portcullis House which was the Cox transgression. You absolutely can use your constituency office for party work - the party has to pay a notional amount for rent and it all needs to be declared.

    So if they're in constituencies I don't think its the same offence. It isn't a "you cannot" like with Portcullis House. Just that you need to declare it. I assume they are getting money in from their CLPs (?) so not declaring it is bloody stupid.
    FPT I believe using constituency offices for party work is forbidden in Scotland - but it may be the case for primarily MSPs and therefore also for those MPs who share an office with them (or indeed are one and the same). WE discussed this recently, when someone was surprised Alastair Carmichael didn't have LD posters up on his office in Kirkwall, Mainland of Orkney.
    One wonders in the case of one recently ennobled MSP who didn't use her constituency office for surgeries and if she couldn't use it for party work, what exactly was she using it for?
    If I can make a very rough guess as to whom the person just might possibly be, then that MSP was a list MSP and IIRC that doesn't attract specific funding - but then became a constituency MSP for 5 years.

    TBF however, there is more to a constituency office than somewhere to admit the schemies, Multrees Walk matrons, and other hoi polloi. You need somewhere to put the bod who answers the phone and the emails.
    Pretty much a pro forma template to respond to letters & emails:

    Dear BillyBlueWATP1690,

    I quite agree that there should be no second indy referendum even if the divisive nationalists would be bound to lose it. Please rest assured I will be making this case. Repeatedly.

    Yours etc
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    Nigelb said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Is writing a book with a contract an outside job? Is taking money from a TV company for appearances on a show? Is gaining a few quid from ads on a hobby website? Writing for a newspaper? Getting income for work with a union?

    When people are determined to find sinners, they'll find sin in all of us.

    I also don't like the idea that some jobs should be 'acceptable' whilst others are not, everything else being the same.

    Having said that, I don't know what the answer is.
    It’s not the simplest of lines to draw.
    But being a paid lobbyist should very obviously be on the wrong side.
    Agree. But there's a heck of a grey morass between paid lobbying and acceptable roles.

    As an example: someone might correct me, but ISTR that ten or so years ago, we went around this rodeo before. Labour wanted all second jobs banned - including book writing, seemingly to get at Hague. However, Abbott's paid appearances on TV would be fine.

    That seemed utterly wrong to me: Hague might earn an advance and income from his book, but it would not have much impact on his political life. TV appearances, and especially regular ones, do.
  • Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 7,128

    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds

    That's very hard to police.

    But, if they have to wait 10 years there's at least a good chance the politician will get stiffed by the company, and that may make it less likely such arrangements will exist ... vs a scenario where you can be openly paid in real time.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    Cyclefree said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Who approves? If the party, then that puts a heck of a lot of extra power in the hands of the whips, and probably wouldn't work anyway. An external party would soon be leaking stuff like: "MP x is looking for a job earning £y..."
    Who approves? The Independent Commissioner - in line with the rules and principles set out in the policy.

    Honestly, this is not hard. We had just such a policy at my last employers. Everyone had to sign up to it and declare any interest, save those that were permitted (a v small list) and get approval in writing. If that approval was not given or given wrongly then there would be disciplinary proceedings. For both the person taking the job and the person wrongly approving it.

    It reverses the assumption that as soon as you get a well paid and prestigious job, you immediately start looking for other even more lucrative sources of income which risk undermining your ability to do your main job and the trust voters have placed in you.

    It's absurd. It wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere. It shouldn't be tolerated for MPs.

    PS And a Commissioner with integrity would not leak.
    That would all be sensible, but I think your last line is a trifle optimistic. As we saw with the expenses scandal, even trying to claim something (and not having it accepted) was taken as a sign of intense guilt. In the same way, asking whether a job was acceptable would be seen as a sin by some.

    The Commissioner will have a team around them, and there would be far too much temptation to leak against people you did not like, for reason of their political position or anything else.
  • MattWMattW Posts: 10,740

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    Isn't that simply a proxy for the image of particular professions, with a political spin?
  • StockyStocky Posts: 7,025
    edited November 12

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    My concern is that unless we are careful we are going to make being an MP very undesirable and lose a lot of expertise in the process
    On one hand the good ole British public gnashes its teeth at MPs earning money on top of MP earnings (which are perceived as high already) and on the other hand the same people grind on about "career politicians" who have no real-world work experience.

    The fuckwits have no idea what they want.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 12,634
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    If it conflicts with their role as an MP, certainly not. So the best solution is a blanket ban on all second, third and fourth incomes.

    I'm not averse to paying MPs more, should the case be made.

    It you want to make an exception for altruism, i.e Allin -Khan and other clinical practitioners through the pandemic, they could do it gratis.
    Should the husband/wife of an MP be allowed to own shares?
    A more difficult conundrum to deal with granted, but again if there is a conflict of interest some form of recusal shouldn't be beyond the wit of the authorities.

    As a random example, with no aspersions cast, Matt Hancock's relatives (when he was Health Secretary) engaging in medical PPE provision to the NHS would cause me a problem.
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 20,848
    The problem is that MPs seem to operate on the assumption that once they become MPs they should get all sorts of other payments and roles and offers and they try to justify those in ever more ingenious ways.

    It does not occur to them - but is pretty obvious to me - that the only reason they get all these offers is because they are MPs. And it is precisely because this is so that they should not take them up.

    But leaving it to them to police themselves after the event is too late and too feeble. Hence my suggestion of a tightly defined list of exceptions to the general presumption of no outside business interests coupled with a system of external independent pre-approval.

    MPs will moan but they've brought this on themselves. Self-regulation has not worked. So something tougher is needed.

    They are much like bankers in this regard.
  • MattW said:

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    Isn't that simply a proxy for the image of particular professions, with a political spin?
    It looks like it.

    I'm wondering how many of the 35% approving actually know of an HGV driver who'd they'd want as their MP.
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 4,356
    Carnyx said:

    Cyclefree said:

    Nigelb said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
    I'm sorry about that. I like sheep. They've been my constant companions these past two years.

    Though spraying MPs with an anti-parasite dip may be worth considering ......
    Doing it the old way, herding with ankle-biting collies through an oirganophosphorus solution in a head deep concrete trough, would perhaps be a little unkind.
    https://twitter.com/MattCartoonist/status/1458480686218760202

  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 34,925
    rkrkrk said:

    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds

    That's very hard to police.

    But, if they have to wait 10 years there's at least a good chance the politician will get stiffed by the company, and that may make it less likely such arrangements will exist ... vs a scenario where you can be openly paid in real time.
    That’s what happens in the States, with pharma, O&G, and media companies. They make a big point of hiring former Congresspeople who served on the committees regulating them, on massive salaries for doing little work, and have been consistently doing so for decades.

    The obvious reason for doing this, is so the current Congresscritters think, without anything being said, that they will be next. 99% of the time, they’re right.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    If it conflicts with their role as an MP, certainly not. So the best solution is a blanket ban on all second, third and fourth incomes.

    I'm not averse to paying MPs more, should the case be made.

    It you want to make an exception for altruism, i.e Allin -Khan and other clinical practitioners through the pandemic, they could do it gratis.
    Should the husband/wife of an MP be allowed to own shares?
    A more difficult conundrum to deal with granted, but again if there is a conflict of interest some form of recusal shouldn't be beyond the wit of the authorities.

    As a random example, with no aspersions cast, Matt Hancock's relatives (when he was Health Secretary) engaging in medical PPE provision to the NHS would cause me a problem.
    Welsh NHS, wasn't it? Or was that something else?
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449
    rkrkrk said:

    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds

    That's very hard to police.

    But, if they have to wait 10 years there's at least a good chance the politician will get stiffed by the company, and that may make it less likely such arrangements will exist ... vs a scenario where you can be openly paid in real time.
    Or the company gets taken over or something.

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    Nigelb said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Is writing a book with a contract an outside job? Is taking money from a TV company for appearances on a show? Is gaining a few quid from ads on a hobby website? Writing for a newspaper? Getting income for work with a union?

    When people are determined to find sinners, they'll find sin in all of us.

    I also don't like the idea that some jobs should be 'acceptable' whilst others are not, everything else being the same.

    Having said that, I don't know what the answer is.
    It’s not the simplest of lines to draw.
    But being a paid lobbyist should very obviously be on the wrong side.
    Agree. But there's a heck of a grey morass between paid lobbying and acceptable roles.

    As an example: someone might correct me, but ISTR that ten or so years ago, we went around this rodeo before. Labour wanted all second jobs banned - including book writing, seemingly to get at Hague. However, Abbott's paid appearances on TV would be fine.

    That seemed utterly wrong to me: Hague might earn an advance and income from his book, but it would not have much impact on his political life. TV appearances, and especially regular ones, do.
    Interesting. Being a part-time journo or columnist is badly rated but it is arguably an integral part of politics. It's also not too far removed from many jobs.

    For instance in a past incarnation I wrote for some popular journals etc in my spare time - on themes completely irrelevant to my employer's policy, or very carefully checked with them when they might be (for instance, when I wrote on the law and ethics of my profession). The employers saw it as a useful extension of my day job and one that didn't impinge on it in any negative way. And I was not well paid - used the money for professional subs, decent IT kit and funding my research.

    Maybe it's the money that is the issue.

    Or the subject. If Mr Hague was writing about, say, the design of British tanks in the Great War, versus politics?

    And where does that leave Mr Johnson on Churchill WS, given his obvious subliminal message?

  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,012

    MattW said:

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    Isn't that simply a proxy for the image of particular professions, with a political spin?
    It looks like it.

    I'm wondering how many of the 35% approving actually know of an HGV driver who'd they'd want as their MP.
    Or academics - not sure UK politics is prepared for *that* much sociopathic backstabbing.
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 20,848

    Cyclefree said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Who approves? If the party, then that puts a heck of a lot of extra power in the hands of the whips, and probably wouldn't work anyway. An external party would soon be leaking stuff like: "MP x is looking for a job earning £y..."
    Who approves? The Independent Commissioner - in line with the rules and principles set out in the policy.

    Honestly, this is not hard. We had just such a policy at my last employers. Everyone had to sign up to it and declare any interest, save those that were permitted (a v small list) and get approval in writing. If that approval was not given or given wrongly then there would be disciplinary proceedings. For both the person taking the job and the person wrongly approving it.

    It reverses the assumption that as soon as you get a well paid and prestigious job, you immediately start looking for other even more lucrative sources of income which risk undermining your ability to do your main job and the trust voters have placed in you.

    It's absurd. It wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere. It shouldn't be tolerated for MPs.

    PS And a Commissioner with integrity would not leak.
    That would all be sensible, but I think your last line is a trifle optimistic. As we saw with the expenses scandal, even trying to claim something (and not having it accepted) was taken as a sign of intense guilt. In the same way, asking whether a job was acceptable would be seen as a sin by some.

    The Commissioner will have a team around them, and there would be far too much temptation to leak against people you did not like, for reason of their political position or anything else.
    Not if you had a team like mine in charge. Which despite being in possession of all sorts of explosive secrets about lots of important and famous people never leaked anything. I know it sounds bizarre but there are people with integrity and the ability to keep matters confidential around. It's just that they are not in places where this is really needed.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 25,144

    Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    Aren’t you referring to the ‘gold’ with which Nye Bevan ‘stuffed their mouths’?
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 68,402

    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds

    One for Tony Blair.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    What about spouse's jobs? Or those of children? will those be applicable as well?

    Someone with ill intent could easily 'arrange' things indirectly through other family members - and we've seen stories about 'MP x's wife works as a ....' story before.

    This whole thing is a minefield.
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 4,356
    We suffer from having far too many career politicians and need lots more interesting people to be MPs who have not come up the conventional insider tracks. To this end the only limit on other paid work should be a ban on 'cash for influence'.

    There would be a lot to be said also for MPs to be part time, unpaid, and the funding go to constituency offices where MPs paid assistants/support workers can organise the case work on an expert basis.
  • StockyStocky Posts: 7,025

    Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    "The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract, if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it."

    Would that leave them with much?
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,012
    Cyclefree said:

    The problem is that MPs seem to operate on the assumption that once they become MPs they should get all sorts of other payments and roles and offers and they try to justify those in ever more ingenious ways.

    It does not occur to them - but is pretty obvious to me - that the only reason they get all these offers is because they are MPs. And it is precisely because this is so that they should not take them up.

    But leaving it to them to police themselves after the event is too late and too feeble. Hence my suggestion of a tightly defined list of exceptions to the general presumption of no outside business interests coupled with a system of external independent pre-approval.

    MPs will moan but they've brought this on themselves. Self-regulation has not worked. So something tougher is needed.

    They are much like bankers in this regard.

    Indeed.

    The issue starts, I think with the idea that being an MP is part time.

    In the beginning, MP was something that gentlemen did, whenever the king could be bothered to summon parliament. The outside interests were what they were representing, not the people as such. The idea that that the chap backed by the City of London wasn't representing the City of London (and being rewarded for same) would have seemed strange in 1675.....

    By modern standards, this is corrupt.

    So, firstly - is being an MP a full time or part time job?

    If full time, then fairly standard employment contracts would exclude the vast majority of other jobs.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,012
    Stocky said:

    Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    "The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract, if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it."

    Would that leave them with much?
    Problem - a QC becomes an MP.

    Previously, he could have been getting a far bit of work.

    Obviously, MP on his business card will get him some work.

    But how do you tell which work he got for being an MP and which he didn't?
  • MattWMattW Posts: 10,740
    Interesting header, @Cyclefree .

    My comments:

    - How do we take this out of Parliament's hands entirely, and is that desirable? And if we do how do we hold such a regulatory office itself to account?

    Removing MPs from direct influence in Expenses was a key aim in the last reform in 2010, and achieved that to a significant extent, and we have a much improved system. Though we still have the bizarre arguments about MPs needing more money, and MPs expenses should pay mortages, which effectively gives them a free capital gain on the public purse.

    The current setup is well isolated, in that the Commissioner makes the decisions, and there is no right to appeal when a case is taken up or when it gives an answer - and with some strange processes around punishments.

    The impression I have is that Filkin and Stone have been stringent, and Mawer was quite compliant.

    But how far do we want to allow the Commissioner effectively to overrule the results of an election?

    - What about the question of unpaid positions? And, for example, access provided by MPs and Lords to Parliament for lobbyists?
    A former HoL list for these is here:
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/apr/10/parliamentary-pass-members-house-of-lords

    - Why do former politicians get access to the Estate for life? And how is that used?

    Do we need the narrower issue, or the wider, addressed?
  • StockyStocky Posts: 7,025

    Stocky said:

    Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    "The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract, if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it."

    Would that leave them with much?
    Problem - a QC becomes an MP.

    Previously, he could have been getting a far bit of work.

    Obviously, MP on his business card will get him some work.

    But how do you tell which work he got for being an MP and which he didn't?
    I agree. I was joking.

    I can't get too worked up about all this to be honest. Except when it is to do with lobbying.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675

    Stocky said:

    Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    "The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract, if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it."

    Would that leave them with much?
    Problem - a QC becomes an MP.

    Previously, he could have been getting a far bit of work.

    Obviously, MP on his business card will get him some work.

    But how do you tell which work he got for being an MP and which he didn't?
    Unless the work involves lobbying the government, I don't care. If a lawyer gets more offers simply through having a higher profile, more fool the clients who think that makes them a better lawyer.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,012
    Sandpit said:

    rkrkrk said:

    Isn’t there a danger of creating a system of secret deferred payment agreements? You do this for us and in 10 years we’ll give you a non-executive director position paying Xm pounds

    That's very hard to police.

    But, if they have to wait 10 years there's at least a good chance the politician will get stiffed by the company, and that may make it less likely such arrangements will exist ... vs a scenario where you can be openly paid in real time.
    That’s what happens in the States, with pharma, O&G, and media companies. They make a big point of hiring former Congresspeople who served on the committees regulating them, on massive salaries for doing little work, and have been consistently doing so for decades.

    The obvious reason for doing this, is so the current Congresscritters think, without anything being said, that they will be next. 99% of the time, they’re right.
    It is how it used to work in the UK. An ex-MP of the "right sort" would find himself flooded with invitations to become a non-exec for £x a year for 2 days work a year.

    Part of their job as non-exec would be talking to current MPs about which way they should vote. Carefully trailing the rewards for being the "right sort".
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 15,259
    Cyclefree said:

    Nigelb said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
    I'm sorry about that. I like sheep. They've been my constant companions these past two years.

    Though spraying MPs with an anti-parasite dip may be worth considering ......
    Fitting the males with a device for showing who they've tupped could also be implemented.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 12,634
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    If it conflicts with their role as an MP, certainly not. So the best solution is a blanket ban on all second, third and fourth incomes.

    I'm not averse to paying MPs more, should the case be made.

    It you want to make an exception for altruism, i.e Allin -Khan and other clinical practitioners through the pandemic, they could do it gratis.
    Should the husband/wife of an MP be allowed to own shares?
    A more difficult conundrum to deal with granted, but again if there is a conflict of interest some form of recusal shouldn't be beyond the wit of the authorities.

    As a random example, with no aspersions cast, Matt Hancock's relatives (when he was Health Secretary) engaging in medical PPE provision to the NHS would cause me a problem.
    Welsh NHS, wasn't it? Or was that something else?
    I was simply giving you a completely fictional scenario in order to bolster my point of view. But now you mention it, that would still work as a conflict of interest for me.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 15,403
    AlistairM said:
    Poor old Rutland.
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 30,218
    I've always loved that Emerson quote. And, it applies so widely.

    When you read about a big company proclaiming their commitment to equality and diversity, Pride, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, treat them in the same light you would a televangelist denouncing unnatural sexual practices. And remember Christopher Hitchens' comment that he'd make a note in his diary, and a few years down the line, the man would be found on his weary old knees, in some motel room or latrine, doing the very things he so denounced.

    Assume that any big business that claims to be ethical is making use of slave labour in China and routing its profits through a tax haven, and you'll not often be wrong.
  • SandpitSandpit Posts: 34,925
    edited November 12
    AlistairM said:
    So the way to go for the next band, is to come from Rutland. Definitely not London, Liverpool or Manchester.

    Edit: Great minds, @dixiedean
  • Great article form @Cyclefree. particularly like this suggestion: The test should be: Would the MP have got this work, this contract if he were not an MP? If no, he does not take it.

    The interesting thing about the debate on second jobs for MPs is that there is one profession that gets away with being paid handsomely by the state and also is able to do additional work at eye watering rates and yet is held in such high esteem and public deference that MPs could only dream about.

    That profession is the medical profession. Around £120k, uber-job security and gold plated pensions at the taxpayers expense is clearly not good enough for those hard-working hospital consultants. Many have an additional incomes from private practice, company consultancies and royalties on patents. A few would easily rival Geoffrey Cox in income. Does the public care? Do the politicians dare raise it. Answer no! It doesn't excuse MPs excesses, but it is certainly something that should also be addressed.

    Aren’t you referring to the ‘gold’ with which Nye Bevan ‘stuffed their mouths’?
    Yep, and they have been on a feeding frenzy on it ever since! Don't get me started on GPs and the contract that the BMA got for them in the Labour years! Most highly paid general practitioners in Europe (except Switzerland) and yet when the BMA comes on telly you'd think they were living on kippers and bake beans!
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 15,449

    Cyclefree said:

    Nigelb said:

    Cyclefree said:

    I should have added this -

    "No pre-approval; no job. Doing it without approval means instant referral to the Commissioner for Standards with the usual penalty being return of the gross amount received."

    Your piece is again excellent and I agree 100%
    Not quite for me.
    I though the implied comparison of MPs to Herdwicks a slur on a blameless and noble breed.
    I'm sorry about that. I like sheep. They've been my constant companions these past two years.

    Though spraying MPs with an anti-parasite dip may be worth considering ......
    Fitting the males with a device for showing who they've tupped could also be implemented.
    No problem, just paint their tummies with ruddle.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 12,634
    edited November 12
    dixiedean said:

    AlistairM said:
    Poor old Rutland.
    The Rutles?

    OK. Eric Idle is from Worcs.
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 4,768
    edited November 12
    AlistairM said:
    Without wanting to be rude, there's something amusingly apt about the Isle of Wight being Level 42.
  • bigjohnowlsbigjohnowls Posts: 17,505
    MattW said:

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    Isn't that simply a proxy for the image of particular professions, with a political spin?
    National Service for MPs
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 4,714
    AlistairM said:
    Seems the Geordies prefer Gordon Sumner over Mark Knopfler.

    (Actually I see that Sting and I attended the same university, he to do teacher training, me to do my CIPD).
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 7,893



    So, firstly - is being an MP a full time or part time job?

    This is the problem, the fuckers have too much time on their hands.

    Make it a full time with the leave entitlement of a normal job and sanction them if they don't turn up to the HoC or their constituency offices.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 4,714
    Dura_Ace said:



    So, firstly - is being an MP a full time or part time job?

    This is the problem, the fuckers have too much time on their hands.

    Make it a full time with the leave entitlement of a normal job and sanction them if they don't turn up to the HoC or their constituency offices.
    How can they be ministers then?

    Why would we ban MPs from doing secondary jobs and then allow them to work for the Government, which is a clear conflict of interest?
  • GardenwalkerGardenwalker Posts: 9,510
    AlistairM said:
    I see it is “best selling” rather than music you’d actually want to listen to, with maybe 5 or 6 exceptions.
  • Sean_F said:

    I've always loved that Emerson quote. And, it applies so widely.

    When you read about a big company proclaiming their commitment to equality and diversity, Pride, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, treat them in the same light you would a televangelist denouncing unnatural sexual practices. And remember Christopher Hitchens' comment that he'd make a note in his diary, and a few years down the line, the man would be found on his weary old knees, in some motel room or latrine, doing the very things he so denounced.

    Assume that any big business that claims to be ethical is making use of slave labour in China and routing its profits through a tax haven, and you'll not often be wrong.

    Total simplistic bollocks. There are plenty of companies that walk the talk on ethics. Large companies are simply collections of people. Sure, they have an obligation to shareholders to turn a profit, but many do good things and achieve amazing breakthroughs that benefit humankind.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675
    I think Nicola Roberts was unlucky. Born in Stamford, but brought up in Runcorn.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 7,893

    Dura_Ace said:



    So, firstly - is being an MP a full time or part time job?

    This is the problem, the fuckers have too much time on their hands.

    Make it a full time with the leave entitlement of a normal job and sanction them if they don't turn up to the HoC or their constituency offices.
    How can they be ministers then?

    They can clock in at their ministerial office.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 34,833

    Nigelb said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Is writing a book with a contract an outside job? Is taking money from a TV company for appearances on a show? Is gaining a few quid from ads on a hobby website? Writing for a newspaper? Getting income for work with a union?

    When people are determined to find sinners, they'll find sin in all of us.

    I also don't like the idea that some jobs should be 'acceptable' whilst others are not, everything else being the same.

    Having said that, I don't know what the answer is.
    It’s not the simplest of lines to draw.
    But being a paid lobbyist should very obviously be on the wrong side.
    Agree. But there's a heck of a grey morass between paid lobbying and acceptable roles.

    As an example: someone might correct me, but ISTR that ten or so years ago, we went around this rodeo before. Labour wanted all second jobs banned - including book writing, seemingly to get at Hague. However, Abbott's paid appearances on TV would be fine.

    That seemed utterly wrong to me: Hague might earn an advance and income from his book, but it would not have much impact on his political life. TV appearances, and especially regular ones, do.
    It would strike me as where you provide a “product” (a book, a report, a TV piece) it may be ok. Where you provide “advice” it probably isn’t.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 38,749
    AlistairM said:
    I didn't realise Olivia Newton-John was from Cambridge. Apparently her father worked for MI5 at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 34,833

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    People don’t like bankers? 😭
  • Dura_Ace said:



    So, firstly - is being an MP a full time or part time job?

    This is the problem, the fuckers have too much time on their hands.

    Make it a full time with the leave entitlement of a normal job and sanction them if they don't turn up to the HoC or their constituency offices.
    In which case you will have to make a proper separation of powers and stop them serving in the executive, which wouldn't be a bad thing
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 30,218

    Sean_F said:

    I've always loved that Emerson quote. And, it applies so widely.

    When you read about a big company proclaiming their commitment to equality and diversity, Pride, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, treat them in the same light you would a televangelist denouncing unnatural sexual practices. And remember Christopher Hitchens' comment that he'd make a note in his diary, and a few years down the line, the man would be found on his weary old knees, in some motel room or latrine, doing the very things he so denounced.

    Assume that any big business that claims to be ethical is making use of slave labour in China and routing its profits through a tax haven, and you'll not often be wrong.

    Total simplistic bollocks. There are plenty of companies that walk the talk on ethics. Large companies are simply collections of people. Sure, they have an obligation to shareholders to turn a profit, but many do good things and achieve amazing breakthroughs that benefit humankind.
    Virtue is lived, not preached.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884
    Charles said:

    Nigelb said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Is writing a book with a contract an outside job? Is taking money from a TV company for appearances on a show? Is gaining a few quid from ads on a hobby website? Writing for a newspaper? Getting income for work with a union?

    When people are determined to find sinners, they'll find sin in all of us.

    I also don't like the idea that some jobs should be 'acceptable' whilst others are not, everything else being the same.

    Having said that, I don't know what the answer is.
    It’s not the simplest of lines to draw.
    But being a paid lobbyist should very obviously be on the wrong side.
    Agree. But there's a heck of a grey morass between paid lobbying and acceptable roles.

    As an example: someone might correct me, but ISTR that ten or so years ago, we went around this rodeo before. Labour wanted all second jobs banned - including book writing, seemingly to get at Hague. However, Abbott's paid appearances on TV would be fine.

    That seemed utterly wrong to me: Hague might earn an advance and income from his book, but it would not have much impact on his political life. TV appearances, and especially regular ones, do.
    It would strike me as where you provide a “product” (a book, a report, a TV piece) it may be ok. Where you provide “advice” it probably isn’t.
    So no How to Lose Weight book from Boris.
  • AlistairM said:
    Seems the Geordies prefer Gordon Sumner over Mark Knopfler.

    (Actually I see that Sting and I attended the same university, he to do teacher training, me to do my CIPD).
    I think the county only refers to where the artist is born, and it's the artist with most worldwide record sales in each county. So it doesn't matter who Geordies prefer, Sting has sold more records.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 4,714
    Charles said:

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    People don’t like bankers? 😭
    And why is Government Minister not on the list?
  • OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 6,406
    tlg86 said:

    Carnyx said:

    tlg86 said:

    Pulpstar said:

    The level of conflicts of interest in these second jobs is extraordinary.

    Occasionally a virtuous one pops up (Rosena Allin-Khan's doctoring springs to mind) but I'm afraid the vast majority have poisoned the well.
    No second jobs full stop, we'll probably lose a few MPs but like the IRA getting rid of bins in train stations it's casualties we'll have to take.

    Should MPs be allowed to own a business? Should they be allowed to own shares?
    The wealthier they are, the more interest (in more senses) they have in public fiscal policy. I find it deeply troubling that people as wealthy as Mr Sunak are allowed to be Chancellor, simply because of that unavoidable conflict of interest. (NB: this is not a specific criticism of Mr Sunak, but a wider principle.)

    Someone the other day made similar remarks about MPs and the London housing market.
    Good luck with doing anything about that.

    What I find more troubling is members of the Monetary Policy Committee having an interest in house prices and mortgages rates.
    Hard to prevent MPC members from owning a house.
  • JohnLilburneJohnLilburne Posts: 4,714
    Dura_Ace said:

    Dura_Ace said:



    So, firstly - is being an MP a full time or part time job?

    This is the problem, the fuckers have too much time on their hands.

    Make it a full time with the leave entitlement of a normal job and sanction them if they don't turn up to the HoC or their constituency offices.
    How can they be ministers then?

    They can clock in at their ministerial office.
    But if being an MP is a full time role, they won't have time to be a Minister.
  • Sean_F said:

    Sean_F said:

    I've always loved that Emerson quote. And, it applies so widely.

    When you read about a big company proclaiming their commitment to equality and diversity, Pride, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, treat them in the same light you would a televangelist denouncing unnatural sexual practices. And remember Christopher Hitchens' comment that he'd make a note in his diary, and a few years down the line, the man would be found on his weary old knees, in some motel room or latrine, doing the very things he so denounced.

    Assume that any big business that claims to be ethical is making use of slave labour in China and routing its profits through a tax haven, and you'll not often be wrong.

    Total simplistic bollocks. There are plenty of companies that walk the talk on ethics. Large companies are simply collections of people. Sure, they have an obligation to shareholders to turn a profit, but many do good things and achieve amazing breakthroughs that benefit humankind.
    Virtue is lived, not preached.
    There are just as many virtuous folk in big companies as there are in the public sector in my experience. Some people would rather not see it and look for evidence that confirms their own prejudice
  • Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    If nobody else is going to bother..

    Plumbers in government might help fix the leaks.
  • OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 6,406

    AlistairM said:
    Seems the Geordies prefer Gordon Sumner over Mark Knopfler.

    (Actually I see that Sting and I attended the same university, he to do teacher training, me to do my CIPD).
    I think the county only refers to where the artist is born, and it's the artist with most worldwide record sales in each county. So it doesn't matter who Geordies prefer, Sting has sold more records.
    Knopfler was born in Glasgow. Dire Straits are on a playlist of Scottish artists I put together for Burns Night on that basis.
  • Charles said:

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    People don’t like bankers? 😭
    I'm even more shocked they don't like lawyers.
  • OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 6,406

    Charles said:

    Which second jobs for MPs do the public approve of?

    People don’t like bankers? 😭
    And why is Government Minister not on the list?
    It's an interesting question because in many ways it's the job most likely to create a conflict of interest with respect to representing the MP's constituents.
  • AlistairM said:
    Seems the Geordies prefer Gordon Sumner over Mark Knopfler.

    (Actually I see that Sting and I attended the same university, he to do teacher training, me to do my CIPD).
    I think the county only refers to where the artist is born, and it's the artist with most worldwide record sales in each county. So it doesn't matter who Geordies prefer, Sting has sold more records.
    Knopfler was born in Glasgow. Dire Straits are on a playlist of Scottish artists I put together for Burns Night on that basis.
    Which makes it even less relevant who Geordies prefer between him and Sting then!
This discussion has been closed.