Watch again: Boris Johnson grilled at PMQs amid row on second jobs and Tory sleaze

17 November 2021, 11:52 | Updated: 17 November 2021, 13:29

By Sophie Barnett

Boris Johnson was grilled at Prime Minister's Questions today over MPs having second jobs and the continued outrage over Tory "sleaze".

The Prime Minister faced Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons, amid the heated row over allegations of "corruption" in Westminster.

The Prime Minister refused to apologise for his part in the Owen Paterson scandal, with Sir Kier branding him "a coward, not a leader".

It comes as the Government is shaken in the wake of the sleaze scandal, which saw the Conservative MP resign after he was found by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to have broken lobbying rules.

It sparked huge scrutiny on the Prime Minister's team and the prospect of MPs having second jobs.

Sir Keir has called for a vote on whether MPs should be allowed to work second consultancy jobs, in response to the recent scandals.

In a surprise initiative, Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that he supported a ban on paid consultancy work called for by Labour.

It comes after a vote took place on November 3 to go against the parliamentary watchdog and delay Owen Paterson's suspension, following an ongoing lobbying row.

Read more: MPs will vote today on new rules to ban paid consultancy work

Read more: Boris Johnson backs ban on MPs' lobbying after Tory sleaze scandal

A motion to reverse the so-called Leadsom amendment - intended to establish a review of the MPs standards investigation process and delay Mr Paterson's suspension for breaking lobbying rules - had been tabled by Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg for Monday evening.

But Tory MP Christopher Chope blocked the motion on Monday by shouting "object" in the Commons chamber, meaning it could not be approved this evening.

Labour's text calls for a ban on "any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant".

Crucially, it also includes provisions requiring the Commons Standards Committee to come forward with proposals to implement the ban and guaranteeing time on the floor of the House for MPs to debate and vote on them.

In contrast, the more vaguely worded Government amendment simply describes the consultancy ban as "the basis of a viable approach" and supports the work of the Standards Committee to update the MPs' code of conduct.

You can watch Prime Minister's Questions at the top of this page.