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Boris Johnson’s proposal to limit MPs’ second jobs is scrapped

Boris Johnson’s proposal to limit MPs’ second jobs is scrapped


In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons in November 2021, Mr Johnson called for a clause to be added to the code of conduct for MPs in line with a recommendation from the ethics watchdog, stating that any outside activity undertaken by an MP, whether paid or unpaid, must be within reason and must not interfere with the full discharge of his or her duties.

He also backed the ban on MPs acting as paid parliamentary advisers, which was later approved by the House of Commons and enshrined in the code.

Mr Johnson said the changes would ensure that MPs who neglect their duties to their constituents and prioritize outside interests would be investigated and appropriately punished by existing disciplinary authorities.

But in its own review two weeks later, the House of Commons standards committee warned that a rule imposing reasonable limits on other employment would be neither workable nor enforceable.

The committee said it would require the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to make highly subjective and potentially partisan political judgments about a member’s time use, priorities and performance as an MP.

In May last year, the standards committee advised that no restrictions should be introduced on the time a member can devote to outside work or the income they could earn from it.

He added: Nor should a rule be introduced which would require the commissioner to judge whether an MP is sufficiently diligent, a judgment which should be reserved only to constituent members.

However, he suggested that those who accept formal paid employment with an outside body obtain a written contract or written statement detailing their duties and make it available to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upon request.

In its response, released last fall, the government agreed to reject a cap on second jobs.

A new code of conduct incorporating most of the recommendations of the standards committees, including a requirement for MPs to disclose details of their second employment on request, was later passed by the House of Commons.

A government spokesperson said: Integrity, professionalism and transparency are the core values ​​of this government. The main job of an MP is and should be to serve his constituents and represent their interests in Parliament.




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