Business minister says 'paid advocacy needs to be stamped out'

11 November 2021, 08:53 | Updated: 11 November 2021, 09:08

Paul Scully has said he thinks "it&squot;s right" that MP&squot;s have second jobs
Paul Scully has said he thinks "it's right" that MP's have second jobs. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Business Minister has said "paid advocacy needs to be stamped out" when it comes to MPs having second jobs.

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As the Government faces backlash in the wake of the Paterson sleaze scandal, Small Business Minister Paul Scully has told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that "it's right that MP’s are able to have second jobs".

Speaking on LBC this morning, the MP said: "I think it's right that MP’s are able to have second jobs but it's what the second jobs are that I think is really key.

"You get lots of examples when you have lots of lawyers that still practice that can then bring that experience back to legislation, that we are bringing forward and they are scrutinising.

"You’ve have people in public service that are still practicing nurses and dentists and doctors and you have people in business that actually allows them to bring business acumen and experience to bare in our economic considerations.

"But nonetheless paid advocacy and the like needs to be absolutely stamped out."

Read more: 'Rotten at the heart': 50 Tory MPs rake in over £1.7m in consultancy fees this year

Read more: Geoffrey Cox has 'earned more than £6m from his second job' since he entered parliament

When asked whether the government needed to rework the system Mr Scully replied: “Yeah I think we need to look at it and that’s what we have been trying to build a cross party consensus, in order to do so.

"I think it needs to be done in a fair way which is why as I say, last week although it got conflated, the route of what we were trying to do was right in trying to have an appeals process so you can feel there is a natural justice there."

His comments come after it was revealed that Sir Geoffrey Cox earned at least £6 million from his second job since he entered parliament.

He is also alleged to have taken part in a virtual meeting for his paid legal work from his House of Commons office - which is taxpayer funded.

According to records, seen by the Guardian, the under-fire MP skipped 12 recent votes on days when he was doing paid legal work.

Read more: Analysis: PM finds himself embroiled in sleazegate scandal in front of world leaders

Read more: Boris Johnson: MPs 'should be punished' if they break rules on second jobs

A Labour party's analysis, which looks at the Register of Members Financial Interests, showed that since the start of this year Tory MPs have taken £1,712,357 in consultancy fees.

Anneliese Dodds, Labour Party chairwoman, said one in seven Conservative MPs had been taking money from outside interests.She said in the last year, 50 Tory backbenchers and former ministers had been paid by management or consultancy firms.

In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Johnson stressed that MPs should always put their constituents’ interests first, and avoid paid lobbying.

Mr Johnson said it is "crucial" that MPs follow the rules around second jobs, but he refused to comment - or apologise - on any individual cases."

On second jobs, I would say that for hundreds of years MPs have gone to Parliament and also done work as doctors, lawyers or soldiers or firefighters or writers, or all sorts of other trades and callings," he said.

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