Angela Rayner (Deputy Leader of Labour Party) is always a good laugh. Although it wasn’t intended.

Yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show was an example. She spoke out about the party’s view on MPs who have’second jobs.

Rayner made it clear that these practices were unacceptable and must be “banned”.

Oh, asked Marr, then what about your party leader, Keir Starmer, who has earned £100,000 in legal fees while also serving as an MP? Rayner looked panicked with his pale blue eyes.

Angela Rayner, (pictured) the deputy leader of the Labour Party, is always good for a laugh. Although not intentionally, writes Dominic Lawson

Angela Rayner (pictured), the Labour Party’s deputy leader, has a knack for making people laugh. Dominic Lawson writes that Dominic Lawson did not intend to.

She didn’t address the question but instead rambled about taxpayers’ money wasted on “dodgy contract” in favor of Tory Party donors. It was a legitimate issue for inquiry but an entirely separate matter.

So then Marr asked her why it was that, having stood on a manifesto in 2015 which declared MPs should be barred from taking income as a consultant, Keir Starmer later took almost £10,000 in return for advice to the government of Gibraltar. Rayner continued to protest about Conservatives giving away “billions of dollars in dodgy contract” and he “answered” this.

While some may find this comical, it can be frustrating to others. It is important that the issue of MPs holding second jobs should be dealt with honestly and correctly, not as a game.


True, though, is that Labour still has questions to answer after Boris Johnson’s failure to repeal the Commons Committee on Standards finding that Owen Paterson was a former cabinet minister had ‘egregiously,’ violated rules on paid Lobbying.

After the Daily Mail revealed that Sir Geoffrey Cox (Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon) had made hundreds of thousands from legal work. This included a lucrative and long-term stay in the British Virgin Islands.

Sir Geoffrey spoke only once in Parliament since February when the Prime Minister dismissed him from Cabinet, but insists that his constituents have continued to be represented properly.

The Tories have more questions to answer than Labour in the wake of Boris Johnson's failed attempt to overturn the finding that former cabinet minister Owen Paterson (pictured) had 'egregiously' broken the rules on paid lobbying

Boris Johnson failed to stop Labour’s finding that Owen Paterson had “egregiously” violated rules on paid lobbying has left more questions for the Tories than Labour.

This eminent attorney has pushed the boundaries of credulity to show his voters that he cares about them and not his clients.

Nevertheless there is a tradition that MPs holding the extra title of QC have maintained their legal practice and served as backbenchers to Parliament for a long time.

The most notable recent example is Sir Keir Sterner, but there are other examples in the House such as Joanna Cherry, SNP.

Her ‘double job’ is fine by me. Yet there comes a point at which an MP is taking the p***, and many of Cox’s colleagues on the Conservative benches believe he has been doing precisely that. Although the practice is outrageous, it’s much more acceptable than Sir Geoffrey’s use of his MP title to obtain consulting work for businesses and organizations.

Sir Keir Starmer (pictured) is the most prominent recent example for Labour, and there are others in the current House, such as the SNP's Joanna Cherry

Sir Keir (pictured) has been the most notable Labour example in recent times. However, there are many others, including Joanna Cherry from the SNP.

It is almost certain that they will get work without having the letters MP after them.

It is wrong. Former members should be given a House of Commons pass to allow them to continue advocating for clients at the Palace of Westminster after they cease to be MPs.

While some Honourable members leave Parliament for failing to meet the expectations, others lose their seats in General Elections simply due to the swinging of the political pendulum.

The job security of MPs is not good, even for marginal seats. It is also why I am open to the idea of MPs having’second jobs.’ It can be difficult to register a new doctor after having been absent for a while, and it could lead to confusion.

Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, Sir Geoffrey Cox (pictured), had been earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from his legal work

Conservative MP for Torridge, West Devon, Sir Geoffrey Cox (pictured) was making hundreds of thousands of pounds per year through his legal work.


The best example of this is the medical profession. This point hasn’t been proven in all the fuss about MPs second jobs. There are many thousands of people in public service jobs, funded by the taxpayer, who do ‘private work’ on the side — and none more so than doctors.

Aneurin, Labour Health Secretary was faced with a difficult battle by the British Medical Association. They did not want their members to be reduced to servants of state and wanted them to keep seeing private patients.

Bevan refused to back down and legislation allowed doctors working in the NHS to also practice private medicine. Bevan stated that he could win over the profession only by ‘filling doctors’ with gold in 1948.

Some doctors are not happy with this. In 2015, a senior cardiologist, Dr John Dean, claimed that the optional addition of private practice created ‘a perverse incentive to increase your NHS waiting times — after all, the longer they are, the more private practice will accrue’.

When the Labour Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan (pictured) fought to create the National Health Service, he faced a bitter battle from the British Medical Association

Aneurin (pictured), Labour Health Secretary, faced bitter opposition from the British Medical Association when he tried to establish the National Health Service.

His conclusion was that doctors who work in the public sector more than twice as much have an adverse impact on the NHS. I would argue that the NHS is being strained by all the people in the better off who are using private healthcare.

Then there is the fact that thousands of police officers, who are paid on the basis that they are full-time, also have second jobs in the private sector — minicab-driving being one of the most popular incremental earners.

This is also true for firefighters. This does not just apply to part-time firefighters: many of those designated as ‘Wholetime Firefighter’ also have second jobs — and as freedom of information requests have unearthed, an enormous range of them, from ‘new and used car salesman’ to ‘karate instructor’.


It is true that MPs, with a basic pay of £81,932, get a lot more than police officers or firefighters (though slightly less than an NHS hospital consultant’s starting salary of £84,559). If we insist on sticking to the principle of public servants (and the generous pensions that accompany it), it will not be just MPs who are agitating furiously for additional money from taxpayers in terms their regular salaries.

A special type of Parliamentarian is available, and it’s currently the Tories. They do an important job in addition to being MPs or looking after constituents. They are nearly 100.

Can you imagine what this very challenging extra job looks like?

They serve as ministers to the government. They are also paid an additional salary in lieu of their MP pay for these extra duties.

Last week, I had a conversation with a Cabinet minister. He said that although he holds the constituency “surgery” every fortnight, it is possible to still be an outstanding constituency MP and still fulfill all of his duties.

It is constantly said that we don't want just 'career politicians', dependent 100 per cent on the preferment of their leader or the party hierarchy. So let's not turn the House of Commons into a place exclusively for people like that

We don’t want ‘career politicians,’ who are dependent 100% on their leaders or party hierarchy. It’s a constant refrain. Let’s make sure that the House of Commons is not a space for only such people

France has a completely different view of things. There, a minister cannot also be an MP (deputé) or a senator. When a minister is appointed by either chamber, the member must resign as a legislator.

It is unlikely that the British would choose to change to this system. This is not the least because they like seeing their ministers in Parliament answering questions and objections from the Opposition.

One final thing to consider about MPs who have second jobs. As long as these aren’t exploitations of their Parliamentary privileges, I think this is an advantage.

We don’t want ‘career politicians,’ who are dependent 100% on their leaders or party hierarchy. Let’s make sure that the House of Commons is not dominated by people like this.