Boris Johnson quietly scrapped plan to cap MPs’ pay or second working hours

The PM claims MPs’ second job should have ‘reasonable limits’ when he finally took action over the Owen Paterson slayings – but now it appears that won’t mean limited hours or salary

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has quietly left the plan
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has quietly left the plan

Boris Johnson has quietly abandoned anti-slippery plans to limit MPs’ working hours or pay from their second jobs.

The Prime Minister claimed outside work should stay within “reasonable limits” when he finally took action last year.

At the time, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab proposed a “reasonable limit” meaning a limit on wages or hours worked from a second job.

But now Boris Johnson’s government has opposed both, as part of a review of the system being run by the Commons Standards Committee.

Objections, raised by the Guardian, say limits on working hours are “unrealistic” and limits on income could unfairly bar MPs from writing books in their free time.

Boris Johnson himself cheated out an £88,000 advance for a book “as if it hadn’t been written” in 2015.

It happened that Tory Sir Geoffrey Cox signed up for an extra £54,354.50 from his second job of £1,500 an hour as a QC.

Sir Geoffrey – who insists he did not break the rules – sparked outrage last year after working at a British Virgin Islands corruption investigation for 11 separate days while the Commons were sitting .

Boris Johnson sparked fury in November when he tried to tear down the system to save Tory MP Owen Paterson from being suspended for breaching lobbying rules.

Mr Paterson later abandoned the Commons to protest his innocence, but only after weeks of backlash from the public.

Boris Johnson ultimately attempted to address this issue by adopting two key recommendations in a 2018 report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

The first is to amend the MPs’ Code of Conduct to say: “MPs should not accept any paid work to provide services as strategists, advisors or specialists. Parliamentary consultants, such as advising on Parliament’s affairs or on how to influence Parliament and its members. .

Sir Geoffrey Cox sparked outrage last year after working on a British Virgin Islands corruption investigation on 11 separate days while the Commons were sitting


BVI/YouTube Investigative Committee)

“Members must never accept any payment or offer of employment to act as political or Parliamentary adviser or adviser.”

The second is the statement: “Any outside activity undertaken by an MP, whether paid or not, must be within reasonable limits and should not prevent him or her from fully carrying out his or her duties.” my mission.”

Boris Johnson never explicitly promised a “reasonable limit” to be determined by hours or wages.

But his deputy Dominic Raab suggests that this is the case. He told BBC Radio 4: “You can do it one of two ways.

“You can do it by quantity or you can do it by the number of hours.

“We have asked the committee for detailed working standards by January.”

Mr Raab added at the time: “The number [in terms of pay] Of course one thing – especially from a cognitive point of view – but I think the other thing, if you ask me personally, is volume, hours, because the principle is very clear.

“Your first priority is to serve your constituents and you shouldn’t have any interest outside of the House of Representatives standing in the way of that.”

Opposition to the government was brought by Lancaster Premier Steve Barclay and Commons Leader Mark Spencer.

It said: “The government’s initial position was that it would be impractical to impose fixed constraints such as time limits on the amount of time Members could spend on outside work.

“Imposing a time limit will not necessarily address recent concerns about paid lobbying and MPs’ primary duty to serve their constituents. For example, a Member may carry out work within an acceptable timeframe but that does not necessarily mean that the work is ‘appropriate’ even if it is not ‘paid advocacy’. “

They added: “For outside work income limits to impose such a limit may be intended to prohibit activities that do not unduly influence the political system. Income from activities such as writing books, for example, shall not prevent Members from fulfilling their primary obligations to their members. “

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