Boris Johnson facing Tory civil war over letter to Commons Speaker – ‘Panicked response!’
Boris Johnson appears to have bowed to pressure by proposing a ban on MPs acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists as he desperately tries to plug a hole in the sleaze row that has engulfed the Conservative Party. The Prime Minister has also called for an update to the Commons Code of Conduct, a strengthening of the rules for MPs with second jobs, and for those who fail to focus on their constituents to be “investigated and appropriately punished”. He announced the proposed changes in a letter to House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, including two key recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s report on MPs’ outside interests from 2018.
These include changing their code of conduct so any work conducted outside of their day job should be “within reasonable limits” and “not prevent them from fully carrying out” their duties.
The newly-enforced rules would also stop MPs from accepting paid work as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant, as well as taking payments or offers of employment to act as political consultants.
Mr Johnson said changing the Commons code is “rightly a matter for Parliament” but insisted these two mentioned recommendations would be the basis of a “viable approach which could command the confidence of parliamentarians and the public”.
But the letter from the Prime Minister to the House of Commons leader has sparked a furious response from Tory MP, threatening to blow open a new civil war from within the party.
One MP told The Times of fears the Labour Party will insist on the new rules being extremely tight.
And a senior Tory source told Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates: “Were they really looking for a way of keeping a story going? It was largely dying down.
“The vagueness of what’s being proposed [is being raised as an issue].
He claimed a “significant victory” for Labour, insisting this would not have happened without the resulting binding vote.
After studying the letter from Mr Johnson to Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Tuesday, Sir Keir responded: “Be under no illusion, the Prime Minister has only done this because his back was against the wall because the Labour Party have put down a binding vote for tomorrow.
“This is a significant victory for the Labour Party, it would not have happened if we hadn’t put down that binding vote.
“This is a Prime Minister who has shown no leadership on this whatsoever.”
The Labour leader challenged the Prime Minister to “follow through” and back the Labour motion in the Commons on Wednesday so they can “move forward”.
Sir Keir challenged Mr Johnson to “follow through” and back the Labour motion in the Commons on Wednesday so they can “move forward”.