Senior Conservatives in the UK stand ready to support parliamentarians’ ban on outside counseling to crack down on allegations of sleazy in a move that, government ministers say, could lead to an elimination of long-time old Tory bankers date.
On Monday night, the House of Commons was expected to approve the original parliamentary standards report in wretched Tory Owen Paterson, the former minister who was found to have violated the paid defense rules.
But ministers will now have to reschedule a vote after Christopher Chope, a Conservative MP, shouted “object” to the municipalities, a move that stopped the motion automatically.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s failed attempt to reform the standards regime to protect Paterson has sparked one uproar over the external interests of parliamentarians and led to allegations of sleaze.
The parliamentary standards committee, led by Labor MP Chris Bryant, is now examining whether the regime that allows MPs to have second jobs and outside interests should be reformed. The committee’s report is expected to be published by the end of the month.
The committee is expected to focus on whether or not to ban MPs from taking on additional roles as political or parliamentary advisers.
According to data from the register of interests of parliamentarians, at least 30 have registered earnings from consultancy.
A senior government minister said banning advisory roles is “attractive” because “it would eliminate the risk of lobbying.” But they warned it would lead many older Conservative MPs to leave parliament.
“I expect people who have them [consultancy jobs] they will be the people that the group leader and others would not be unhappy with if they decided not to show up in the next elections, “the minister said.
A senior Conservative MP added: “There are many ‘former ministers’ here right now who seem to have lost some purpose. And I have always been in favor of young people being parliamentarians ”.
A Whitehall official involved in the discussion of the new rules said: “It is very likely that the government will support reforms on the second jobs. But we must proceed with caution and not open yet another can of worms. We do not want to upset loads and loads of parliamentarians with unwanted consequences “.
Inside Downing Street, according to officials, there is an “ongoing debate” over the end of the consultancy work. A government member said Johnson was waiting for Bryant’s committee report before taking action. “It is a parliamentary issue and there is a fair process that we need to follow. But there are pros and cons to all solutions that need to be carefully considered. “
Spurred on by a call to ban lawmakers from taking on advisory posts during a televised interview last Monday, the prime minister left the option open. “I think all of these kinds of things are issues that the panel of the rapporteur, or whatever he sets up, will look into,” he said.
Some ministers fear it will be difficult to decide on a definition of consultancy work, but senior MPs believe Bryant’s committee will find a solution.
“There is certainly room to draw a clear line about political advice that inevitably creates conflict, as long as it is clear that it is specific to potential conflicts like that, and not about the public service or unrelated external experience that adds value to the conflict. policy making, “a Tory said.
The government’s anti-corruption oversight body, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, recommended in 2018 that lawmakers should not “take outside work as a strategist, councilor or parliamentary advisor.” He concluded that such roles “can lead parliamentarians to have a privileged relationship with an organization, and thus exercise undue influence over the parliament.”
Bryant said he was unable to comment as the committee makes its recommendations.
Meanwhile, Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of affairs, apologized to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone after he invited her earlier this month to consider her position following her critical report on Paterson.
“I did not want to express doubts about your ability to play your role and I apologize for any upset or distress my choice of words may have caused,” wrote Kwarteng.