MPs give up second jobs worth £250k a year in wake of Westminster sleaze row

Politics

MPs have given up second jobs worth more than £250,000 per year in the wake of Westminster’s sleaze row.

Fresh scrutiny of MPs’ outside earnings in recent weeks appears to have prompted some to end their other employment away from the House of Commons.

A recent update to the register of financial interests reveals Julian Smith, a Conservative former cabinet minister, has now quit all of his private sector advisory roles, which had been earning him £144,000 per year.

On 16 November, the former Northern Ireland secretary ended his roles with Hygen Energy, worth £60,000 a year, Simply Blue Management, worth £24,000 a year, and MJM Marine, worth £60,000 a year.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith arrives for the funeral of James Brokenshire at St John The Evangelist church in Bexley, south-east London. Picture date: Thursday October 21, 2021.
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Julian Smith has quit all of his private sector advisory roles

Mr Smith, the Tory MP for Skipton and Ripon, had stated the roles saw him engage in a combined 84 hours of work per year.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, ended his membership of Tunstall Health Group’s international advisory board on 30 November, a role that had been earning him £20,000 per year.

He is still listed as being an adviser to Byotrol Technology in a role worth £25,000 a year that is due to end on 24 January next year.

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Steve Brine, a former government minister, is no longer a strategic adviser to pharmaceuticals company Sigma.

He ended the £19,992 per year role on 22 November.

However, in the latest register of interests, he is still listed as holding advisory roles with Remedium Partners and Microlink PC, with the jobs earning him a combined £38,400 a year.

It had already been announced that Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey had given up his consultancy roles worth £78,000 per year in the wake of Westminster’s sleaze row.

Sir Ed’s advisory work on climate change issues had been used to fund the care for his severely disabled son.

The renewed focus on MPs’ second jobs followed the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal.

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At the beginning of November, the government attempted to save Tory ex-minister Mr Paterson from an immediate Commons suspension after he was found to have breached lobbying rules.

Mr Paterson has since quit as an MP and ended his £110,000 per year consultancy work.

The government has also U-turned on an attempt to create a new Conservative-dominated committee to overhaul parliament’s disciplinary processes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since set out plans to ban MPs from working as paid political consultants or lobbyists.

The Commons’ cross-party standards committee has now proposed an “outright ban” on MPs providing paid parliamentary advice, consultancy or strategy services in a new report.

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