MP’s could be affected by proposed consultancy ban

In the wake of former MP, Owen Paterson, who was found to have breached lobbying rules, the House of Commons is having a shake-up on rules relating to MPs taking up paid work outside of parliament.

MPs could be affected if they are barred from taking up outside positions as advisors or consultants, a decision that is currently under consideration by the standards committee. This is due to recent difficulties with breaching lobbying rules.

Although it is not against the rules for MPs to provide consultancy work to businesses, it must be recorded in the register of financial interest, and they must not lobby the government on behalf of the companies that pay them as former Owen Paterson was found to have done and has since resigned from his post for.

Criticisms however have been made over the high earnings MPs received for such consultancy work. Among high earners including Sutton Coldfield MP, Andrew Mitchfield, who earns £182,600 a year for 32.5 days work for firms such as Ernst & Young.

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Whilst there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing, there have been observations around MP’s and links to private healthcare, with the standards committee seeking to answer whether any consultations in outside organisations are ethically viable or not.

MP’s working in healthcare includes Steve Brine, MP for Winchester, who is listed as an event speaker for Sigma pharmaceuticals company, receiving £1667 a month for up to 16 hours of “speeches, networking and Q&A sessions”. Brine is also a strategic adviser to Remedium Partners, a healthcare recruitment firm, working on an “ad-hoc basis” at a rate of £800 a day. Brine states in the register he consulted ACoBA about both appointments; he makes a total of £58,392pa for 288 hours.

This move could look to tighten sanctions around the lobbying rules and restrictions, as well as look to barring MP’s from taking up outside positions.


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