Plans to cap UK MPs’ earnings from second jobs have dropped

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PLANS to cap MPs’ second job earnings must be scrapped, it has been reported.

According to Guardianministers told the Commons standards committee that setting a time limit or cap on second earners would be “impractical”.

The proposals were tabled following the Owen Paterson scandal, in which it was revealed the former Tory minister had repeatedly requested access from ministers and regulators on behalf of paying customers.

Steve Barclay and Mark Spencer have responded to proposals from the Commons standards committee, calling its proposals ‘impractical’

It has also been revealed that former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has pocketed nearly £6million since joining Parliament.

Boris Johnson had threatened to crack down on MPs’ second jobs in response to public fury.

READ MORE: Will the Tories who voted to protect Owen Paterson regret it now?

Johnson’s deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, said the government would support limits, within reason, on the income of MPs outside parliament. He said: “You can do it two ways, by amount or by number of hours. We’ve asked the standards committee to work out the details by January.”

The National: Deputy Prime Minister Dominic RaabDeputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab

The standards committee released its proposed code of conduct in November. He said MPs should face a ‘total ban’ on undertaking work as paid consultants, and ministers should be more transparent about any conflict of interest between their role in government and their second use.

However, the government would no longer support such limits.

A submission for consultation by the Common Standards Committee, made by Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Mark Spencer, Leader of the House of Commons, reads: “The Government initially considers that the position of fixed constraints such as time limiting the time MPs can spend on outside work would be impractical.”

READ MORE: Geoffrey Cox ‘doesn’t believe’ he broke rules by using MP’s office for other work

“Imposing time limits would not necessarily serve to address recent concerns about paid advocacy and the primary duty of MPs to serve their constituents. It might be possible, for example, for an MP to complete work within the agreed time frame, but this does not necessarily mean that this work is “appropriate” even if it did not constitute “paid defence”. »

The National: Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of LancasterSteve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The couple added: “In terms of caps on income from outside work, imposing such a limit could serve to prohibit activities that do not exert undue influence on the political system. Income from activities such as writing books, for example, would not prevent MPs from fulfilling their primary duty to their constituents. »

The government will vote on its final decision once the consultation is complete and the committee has written its final report.

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