Monday, 6 Dec 2021

Boris on brink: New £1.7m consultancy row exposed as Tories slump in FOUR polls

Boris Johnson insists the UK is 'not corrupt' at COP26

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In a new bombshell for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Labour Party raged there is “something rotten at the heart” of the Conservative Party after the new consultancy figures were released based on analysis by the Opposition. Labour chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said one in seven Tory MPs was taking money from outside interests. She claimed in the last year, 50 backbenchers from the ruling party and former ministers had been paid by management or consultancy firms.

The analysis showed Tory MP for Wokingham Sir John Redwood had earned the most in fees at £194,810.

He was followed by Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell (£115,833), Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier (£82,500), Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond (£81,666) and North East Bedfordshire MP Richard Fuller (£79,899).

The figures from Labour do not include income from other outside work but calculate that £1,712,357 has been paid to Tory MPs in consultancy fees.

Ms Dodds said: “There is something rotten at the heart of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party if one in seven of his MPs is taking money from outside interests.

“Every day Conservative MPs act as if there’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.” ​

She concluded: “The Prime Minister needs to show leadership, heed Labour’s call to ban MPs from having paid directorships and consultancy roles and put an end to Tory sleaze.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the Conservative Party for comment. 

The second jobs of MPs are under the spotlight after former minister Owen Paterson was last week found to have broken lobbying rules.

MPs are eligible for second jobs as long as they are not a minister, with recent figures revealing 200 of them received earnings in the last year on top of their £81,932 annual salary. This ranged from £50 a year to almost £1million.

But there are strict rules stating they must publicly declare any additional income, along with gifts, donations and shareholdings over 15 percent.

MPs who leave Government have to consult the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments regarding jobs they wish to take up in the two years after leaving their role, but are also banned from lobbying the Government for the same period.

There are also strict rules in place forbidding MPs from getting paid “in return for advocating a particular matter” in Parliament.

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Paterson row has had major impact on Tory popularity says Curtice

It comes as Mr Johnson has been warned support for his Conservatives is down three points in four different opinion polls in a clear indication of the negative impact from the Paterson debacle.

Polling expert Sir John Curtice told BBC News: “The truth is the polls suggest it has cost the Government to some degree electorally. We now have four opinion polls of people’s voting intentions.

“In each case the poll done after the Owen Paterson inquiry first broke, the company has undertaken a poll just the week before.

“We have a really perfect before and after of the event as to how far this has had an impact.

“The truth is three of the polls had Conservative support down by three points on the previous week, the fourth one was down by two. Three of the four polls suggest that Labour is now up a point or two.

“When four polls all show the same thing then you know, certainly in the short term at least, the Government has taken a hit on this.

“I think the crucial question now is, ‘Will the Government be able to succeed in closing this subject down or not?'”

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Johnson desperately tried to draw a line under the explosive row over standards in Westminster by warning MPs who break House of Commons rules must be “punished”.

The Prime Minister said if MPs wish to continue taking second jobs, it is vitally important they abide by the regulations.

He told a news conference from COP26 in Glasgow: “The most important thing is that those who break the rules must be investigated and should be punished.”

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