UK politics: MPs support government plans to reform second job rules

, UK politics: MPs support government plans to reform second job rules, The Habari News
, UK politics: MPs support government plans to reform second job rules, The Habari News
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Ps have given their backing to the Government’s proposals for second jobs reform.

The Government’s amendment on standards was approved by 297 votes to zero, a majority 297.

The Deputy Speaker told the House: “The ayes to the right 297, the no’s to the left zero. The ayes have it, the ayes have it… just.”

Earlier, the Government committed to releasing all details it has of meeting involving ministers, officials and Randox following a vote in the Commons amid sleaze claims.

It comes after the Prime Minister faced a grilling at the Liaison Committee over whether he thought Owen Paterson was guilty.

Live updates

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MPs back moves to curb their ability to take second jobs

British lawmakers on Wednesday backed moves to curb their ability to take second jobs in addition to their work in parliament.

It comes as opposition parties said Boris Johnson‘s Conservative government had watered down the proposals.

Prime Minister Johnson has come under pressure to act after two weeks of damaging headlines about MPs being paid for external work, with some earning large sums and others possibly in breach of standards rules.

The “sleaze” scandal erupted earlier this month after Conservative lawmakers, acting with Johnson‘s support, voted to halt a proposed 30-day suspension of Owen Paterson, a former minister, who had been found guilty by parliament’s standards watchdog of repeatedly lobbying for two firms.

On Wednesday, parliament rejected an opposition Labour Party motion to support proposals to ban lawmakers from carrying out any paid work as a parliamentary adviser or consultant.

Activity in Parliament drew to a close this evening following Boris Johnson’s appearance before the Liaison Committee, a 4pm vote on Randox contracts and a 7pm vote on the motion to ban second jobs.

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Keir Starmer speaks out following the vote in the Commons

The Labour leader said: “Well, we put forward a plan of action to clean up politics and strengthen standards in politics.

“And if you can believe it, after two weeks of Tory sleaze and corruption, the Prime Minister whipped his MPs against that plan of action and, frankly, he just doesn’t get it.”

He said: “We are not going to back down from these proposals, we’re not prepared to have them watered down, so we will press on with them. But it is unbelievable.”

He added: “I’ve been really struck by how many Tory MPs seem to have lost faith and confidence in the Prime Minister.

“It was noticeable at Prime Minister’s Questions today that their benches were with many gaps, many MPs hadn’t turned up to support him.”

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The Government insists new rules would ensure MPs prioritise their constituents

A government spokesperson said: “The House of Commons has tonight voted to update the Code of Conduct for MPs.

“This means that MPs will be banned from acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists and that MPs are always prioritising their constituents.

“This will strengthen our parliamentary system and we will work on a cross-party basis to achieve this.”

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MPs back government plans for second job reform

MPs voted to back government plans for a second job reform.

The Government’s amendment on standards was approved by 297 votes to zero,
majority 297.

The Deputy Speaker declared the question as amended to be agreed to.

“The ayes to the right 297, the no’s to the left zero. The ayes have it, the ayes have it… just,” he told the House.

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Result awaited after MPs vote on motion to ban second jobs

Government has been voting on the motion to ban second jobs where MPs act as paid consultants and strategists.

The Labour motion has to be voted down by the Government first before Conservatives can then vote on their side’s amendment, due to parliamentary procedure.

This means Tory MPs will have to be whipped to vote against Labour’s proposal to ban second jobs where MPs act as paid consultants/strategists which Labour will make hay with.

But once that is voted down the Government’s similar proposals will be considered.

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Prime Minister on wage rise and inflation

Boris Johnson was asked whether he accepted that if wages were to rise without productivity doing the same, this would lead to inflation.

Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Mel Stride asked: “You’ve urged at various points that companies should pay their workers more.

“Do you accept that if wages go up and productivity doesn’t… that that just leads to inflation?”

He went on to ask if the Prime Minister was concerned about inflation and the impact it could have on public money.

Mr Johnson said: “I think you’ve always got to watch inflation. The numbers today, I think, speak to the price of energy, the difficulties in global supply chains, an economy coming out of Covid.

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, UK politics: MPs support government plans to reform second job rules, The Habari News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving evidence to the Liaison Committee

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving evidence to the Liaison Committee

/ PA

“But I’d rather have a situation now in which there was a big demand for labour and an economy recovering strongly and people wanting employees, than a situation in which you and I remember well from decades ago, both in the 80s and in the 90s, of millions and millions of people unfairly, unnecessarily having their talents wasted because of unemployment.”

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Boris Johnson on the tax burden

Boris Johnson insisted there was a “very simple reason” that the tax burden on the public was set to rise to its highest level since the Second World War.

“The country has been through the biggest fall in output, not just since the Second World War,” he told Parliament’s Liaison Committee.

“But before the Second World War, the biggest that I can see for a very, very long time.

“And we had to look after people throughout the pandemic.”

Mr Johnson said the Chancellor, in the Budget, had cut taxes for the low paid.

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Johnson to consider compulsory consent classes in schools

Boris Johnson said he would be “willing to look at” introducing compulsory consent classes in schools to tackle violence against women and girls.

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes asked the Prime Minister at a meeting of the Commons Liaison Committee: “If there is a challenge around the culture that underpins male violence against women, should we start addressing that in schools and should we look to be making consent classes compulsory?”

Mr Johnson responded: “I think that kids nowadays are given much, much better and more balanced instruction about these questions than was the case even 10 years ago, never mind 20, 30 years ago.

“But there is a way to go, and it is certainly something that I am willing to look at.”

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PM cannot say when he last chaired meeting with key climate change committee

The Prime Minister was unable to precisely say when he last chaired a meeting of the Cabinet’s key climate change committee, or when its next session would be held.

Boris Johnson is the designated chairman of the climate action strategy committee.

Asked when he last chaired the panel, Mr Johnson told MPs: “I can’t give you the date, it was not very long ago.”

Asked when the next one would be, he said: “We are driving the whole green industrial revolution throughout Government and it’s something that I set out in the 10-point plan almost exactly a year ago.

“We’ve been leading it from the centre but also relying on departments of state to get on and do it.”

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Randox contract details to be released after motion passes in Commons

The government has committed to releasing all details it has of meeting involving ministers, officials and Randox following a vote in the Commons amid sleaze claims.

Officials have been “unable to locate a formal note” of what was said during a call between a health minister, Randox and Owen Paterson, MPs were told.

The Labour motion seeking to force the Government to release meeting minutes was approved unopposed, amid concerns over how nearly £600 million of Covid testing contracts were awarded to the firm.

Randox is the diagnostics company which employed Mr Paterson, the former Tory cabinet minister who resigned as an MP during the Westminster sleaze row, as a consultant.

The meeting at the heart of Labour’s request took place on April 9 2020 and involved then-minister Lord Bethell, Randox and Mr Paterson.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson said he was “very happy to publish all the details of the Randox contracts, which have been investigated by the National Audit Office already”.

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Owen Paterson

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Owen Paterson

/ PA