Cameron outflanked and outclassed by Miliband on MPs’ second jobs

Triumph: Ed Miliband had David Cameron on the ropes in Prime Minister's Questions.

Triumph: Ed Miliband had David Cameron on the ropes in Prime Minister’s Questions.

That’ll be another win for Ed Miliband this week, then.

Obviously, the topic of the leader exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions (or Wednesday Shouty Time, for political realists) was always going to be MPs’ second jobs and ‘cash for access’.

Both Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Labour MP Jack Straw were implicated in a ‘hidden camera’ operation to show they were selling their services as MPs for money.

Ed Miliband acted immediately with a plan to stop MPs taking high-paying consultancies and directorships, saying they cannot serve two masters. David Cameron, on the other hand, did nothing – putting him in a weak position before today’s battle began.

It started in civilised fashion: Ed Miliband said the reputation of all members of the House had been “damaged” by the recent revelations, and Cameron responded by saying they were “extremely serious” and it is right they are investigated.

Cameron went on to explain that he is not ruling out further changes on second jobs – but the existing rules should be “properly applied”. Meaning they’re not already? Whose responsibility is that?

Having built up a slight head of steam, Cameron then ruined it by suggesting the government has tightened up the rules on lobbying and introduced a right of recall. We all know that both of these measures pay lip-services to their stated aim, while in fact protecting lobbyists’ access to ministers and helping MPs keep their seats.

Miliband capitalised on this by pointing out that Cameron said – in a 2009 speech before he became Prime Minister – that he would end the practice of “double-jobbing” as he called it then. We all know nothing happened about it after he took office so this was clearly yet another pre-2010 election lie.

Cameron tried to parry by saying Labour’s proposals to ban outside directorships are “not thought through”, repeating a claim made earlier this week that they would allow someone to be a trade union official but not run a family business or shop.

He worsened his position by adding that he believes Parliament is “stronger” if MPs have outside interests. So he’s in favour of the kind of corruption exhibited by Rifkind and Straw?

Clearly, Cameron thought his line on “paid trade union officials” would hammer Miliband down – but the Labour leader batted it away without batting an eyelid. He said he was prepared to add trade union officials to the list of extra jobs that should be banned, in Labour’s motion on the subject to be debated later.

This left Cameron with nowhere to go. He tried to raise the outside earnings of current and former Labour ministers like Tristram Hunt and David Miliband, but the Labour leader said Cameron “talked big” while in opposition and should now “vote for one job – not two”.

Cameron’s final claim, that Labour is “owned lock stock and barrel” by the unions, fell flat following Miliband’s concession on union jobs, while Mr Miliband scored a final hit by pointing out that the Conservatives are controlled by wealthy hedge funds.

Now Cameron is in a corner.

He won’t want to let Labour score a victory by conceding this afternoon’s vote on consultancies and directorships (and now, it seems, trade union officialdom) because it would allow Labour to say it has again changed government policy – and also the rules of Parliament.

But if he opposes the move, then the electorate will see a Conservative Party that works for big business rather than the electorate, and supports corruption.

What is he going to do?

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28 thoughts on “Cameron outflanked and outclassed by Miliband on MPs’ second jobs

  1. cnhay

    Hoera Miliband has at last outshone Cameron it has taken him 4 years to out speak him on a subject just a pity that he is a reflection of the party at the moment characterless is about the best that describes Labour at the moment they have only one person with the ability to conduct a political discussion with aplomb and charisma and that is Mr Chuka Umunna , the man is by far the best orator and has real political prowess and awareness should be the man leading this party.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Miliband outshines Cameron in most PMQs. Perhaps you don’t notice because Cameron always gets the last word.
      Still, you’re entitled to your opinion, I guess.
      Will you be voting in May, considering you’re an expat living in the Netherlands?

      1. fathomie

        He does, but when the media edit every PMQ to show Cameron having the final word, it looks like he never does. PMQ is a waste of time. All it does is give rise to the view that Parliament is a giant panto. In this case with big business up Mr Punchs arse…

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Cameron always does have the final word. That doesn’t mean he gets to win all the time, though – as today’s performance showed.

  2. Andy Robertson-Fox

    Sorry but when were Rifkind and Straw found guilty of breaking the law or the rules and regulations of parliament…I thought the matters were under ınvestigation.

      1. Andy Robertson-Fox

        I thınk ıf you read the artıcle above you wıll fınd the words ın bold type
        “So ıs he ın favour of the kınd of corruptıon exhıbıted by rıfkınd and Straw?”

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Yes – they were filmed exhibiting a certain kind of corruption. The filmed evidence is there. Wasn’t it shown on Dispatches?
        That is different from having been found guilty of an offence – but then, no offence is mentioned. They were filmed exhibiting corrupt behaviour. I didn’t say they committed a crime.

      3. Andy Robertson-Fox

        Both Rifkind and Straw have denied any wrong doing, you, ıt seems, are prepared to convict them on the “evidence” (and remember the transcrıpts were denıed by Dıspatches) of a TV programme. I prefer to use the tıme honoured ınnocent untıl proved, repeat, proved, guilty. No agreements were reached and no money changed hands as far as ı am aware.

  3. Gary

    At last! On this subject Milliband has not only ‘won’ PMQs he has won the moral high ground. This looked genuinely different from the usual politicking. Milliband obviously had as much to lose as Cameron being that this, and other scandals, have come from both sides of the house. He quickly addressed Cameron’s faux concerns and put a straight yes/no to him. This is what voters need! Its what we all want and what Cameron claimed to want too. Millibands reputation is perceived to be that of an awkward, stilted politician who had no experience out with politics. If he continues with this style of performance he may yet win personal support. But it WILL be hard.

    1. fathomie

      It will indeed. In particular as the Tory media see Milliband as Cameron’s ticket to no.10 in May. As such this exchange for example will doubtless be portrayed as a ‘triumph’ for DC in tomorrows Wail and Toryograph. Milliband also has to fend off the Blairites who would clearly rather wreck the Labour election campaign than see their Right wing ‘legacy’ even partially dismantled.

    2. John Gaines

      Once in 5 years Milliband may have outwitted the largest a-hole since Gordon Brown, to be an acting PM, similarly, they both crawled in under the door of
      10 Dirt St SW1, we need better than that if the Public are ever going to be induced to ‘give Labour a Go’
      A live body…not a dead Fish with its mouth open……might help.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Thankfully the Labour leader has beaten Cameron many more times than once – perhaps you didn’t notice because the mass media were telling you to look the other way.

  4. Chris Mckenzie

    Why is Miliband to be praised to dismiss trade union work? Mike, he should be defending MP’s links with Unions not pandering to the Tory narrative to score points! This is his position and the Labour position on unions, happy to take our money to fund the party but not willing to defend us in Parliament. Maybe when Labour make a hash it again this time the Unions will fund an alternative like Left Unity/ Left coalition like in Greece.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Chris, he was saying that MPs need to be focused entirely on representing the British people, and not on any second jobs they may have.
      MPs will still be allowed to have links with unions – of course they will. Why should they be employed by the unions as well?

  5. aturtle05

    Every MP outshines Cameron every day of the week when they speak in the House, they don’t turn their back on the majority of the MPs and ignore them when they reply to a question. Cameron, asked a question by his own MP, unless they are by the Speaker turns his back on them all!


    It’s about time Ed gave thay arrogant, dangerous, rude con man Cameron a bloody nose.
    I would go as far as to say to Ed, Character Assassanate him on PM’s Questions as has done so to Ed now and then.

  7. Mr.Angry

    Bring it on Ed !! go kick some ass sorry I missed it, cause for celebration, thanks for this Mike made me smile.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That says a lot about you. Ed Miliband realised what had to be done, as soon as he heard about Jack Straw’s alleged misdemeanour; he has already told all Labour candidates that they cannot have consultancies and directorships, or any other job that causes a conflict of interest with their Parliamentary work. He asked David Cameron to do the same; Cameron refused. He forced a Parliamentary vote on the subject and Cameron’s government blocked it (incidentally, you need to learn about British Parliamentary democracy and how it works – your belief that Opposition parties could defeat the Coalition’s larger numbers in a vote was sad to read).

      Miliband has made all the right moves; Cameron all the wrong ones. They are not similar at all.

      1. Padi Phillips

        OK, I’ll use a different idiom, and paraphrase it, he attempted to lock the stable door after the horse had bolted Though I think it unlikely that the horse was Mr Ed.

        It may well be that Labour and any support from other parties may have found it difficult to defeat the Tories, but they could have enlisted the support of the very many millions of us out here. There is 38 Degrees, Change, Avaaz etc, and whilst they don’t exactly represent an official vote, they are starting to be viewed with some seriousness as representing ordinary people in the issues that we aren’t usually consulted over. Politics is far more than what goes on in Parliament

        I don’t understand British Parliamentary ‘democracy’ and have even less regard for what appears to be a completely corrupt institution that is fit only for abolition and replacing with a proper democracy that comes from the people. I don’t care to give too much time to trying ot comprehend the machinations of an institution elected by a democracy of the illiterate – voted with an X on a piece of paper once every five years.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t think I’ll comment on this; let’s just leave your words for others to see, and draw their own conclusions – although I don’t think you’ll make any friends by calling our system a “democracy of the illiterate”. What a thing to call us!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s as I said in the article, and Cameron looks like he’s heading a corrupt party that’s for corporate lobbyists rather than the electorate.

  8. Jim Round

    Not you Mike, it just confirms my thoughts on most politicians, in it for themselves and the electorate can go and take a running jump.

  9. jaypot2012

    I don’t like being called illiterate – but I can see what he means. If we take out the illiteracy bit, I think an awful lot of people will also see what he means. We’ve all said, for many years, that the way we vote and our democracy needs to be kicked to the wind and started from scratch!

Comments are closed.