Second jobs are being targeted at MPs: Boris Johnson encourages his colleagues to concentrate on their constituents as a standards committee considers banning them from consulting

  • Commons standards panel could review ban on MPs consulting work
  • Source: PM believes MPs will treat the constituency work of their constituents as the most important role
  • For their work as consultants, 30 MPs are able to earn thousands of extra pounds each year. 
  • This is because Owen Paterson, an ex-MP and former employee of two companies, broke the rules.

After Boris Johnson declared yesterday that MPs should be focusing on their constituents, he announced that there will be a clampdown on second-jobs.

The standards committee has been reviewing the possibility of banning consultants from being employed.

Other options being considered by ministers include limiting how many hours that MPs work from outside of the Commons.

Second jobs have been in the spotlight since the resignation of Owen Paterson who was found to have broken lobbying rules while working for two firms that paid him more than £500,000.

Former transport and justice secretary Chris Grayling (Conservative) earns £100,000 to advise Hutchison Ports

Julian Smith (Conservative) is earning £144,000 for 62-84 hours' work for three companies, including advising on energy and renewable fuels

A revision to the Commons Standards Committee’s rules could ban dozens of MPs, including Chris Grayling (L), and Julian Smith (R), from accepting second jobs as consultants.

New scrutiny is being applied to Sir Geoffrey Cox’s second job, which saw him remotely vote in Parliament from the Caribbean.

Chris Bryant, Labour chairman of the Commons standards committee, yesterday confirmed that a report on the MPs’ code of conduct this month is set to make recommendations on second jobs.

According to him, the committee’s standards for public life would make a recommendation that MPs be prohibited from consulting jobs that include lobbying.

In a finding three years ago, the watchdog said: ‘Where MPs are engaging in paid political or parliamentary advisory or consultancy work, they are potentially perpetuating the public concern that MPs are using their public office for personal gain by taking on roles which they have only been awarded because they are an MP.’

A No 10 spokesman yesterday said Mr Johnson did not support an ‘outright ban’ on second jobs, as it would ‘catch those who still work in roles such as doctors and nurses’. But they added that Mr Johnson expected MPs to treat representing their constituents as their ‘primary role’.

Mark Garnier (Conservative) is paid to sit on the advisory boards of two companies in the space and satellite industry, committing 20 hours a month for an annual payment of £90,000

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell

MPs Mark Garnier (L) and Andrew Mitchell (R) could lose £90k and £182k a year respectively under proposed new rules banning members from taking high-paying jobs as consultants

A Government source later said ministers were ‘open’ to possible reforms, such as limiting the hours an MP can work on a second job.

They said: ‘Ideally people would not need rules to force them to focus on their job as an MP, but unfortunately we can see that is not always the case.’

Yesterday, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Commons Speaker, stated that he does not support the introduction of a limit on the amount MPs may earn in other areas than the Commons.

He told Times Radio: ‘I’m not convinced by a cap, but the House needs to look at it itself and what kind of MP we want representing us.’

MPs who work as consultants for private businesses must declare any earnings over £100.

You are prohibited from approaching ministers, asking questions, or creating legislation for payment.

A No 10 spokesman yesterday said Mr Johnson did not support an ¿outright ban¿ on second jobs but that he expected MPs to treat representing their constituents as their ¿primary role

A No 10 spokesman yesterday said Mr Johnson did not support an ‘outright ban’ on second jobs but that he expected MPs to treat representing their constituents as their ‘primary role

Ministerial MPs should also apply for approval by the advisory committee to business appointments, if they accept a job that is not within two years of leaving office.

For work as consultants, some 30 MPs make thousands more a year. The outside earnings of several dwarf their Commons salary of £81,932 a year.

Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell is paid £182,000 on top of his MP’s salary for six consultancy jobs, while Tory former chief whip Julian Smith earns £144,000 for three firms.

Conservative former transport secretary Chris Grayling earns £100,000 advising operator Hutchison Ports Europe, and Tory Mark Garnier earns £90,000 a year advising two companies.