Tag Archives: second

#BorisJohnson #sleaze #scandal of the day: another MP with a second job

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions.

Boris Johnson is facing tricky questions again:

Apparently Winchester MP Stephen Brine repeatedly claimed on the public Register of Members’ Interests that he’d been given the green-light to take a £1,600-a-month job with Sigma Pharmaceuticals by a Parliamentary watchdog, just months after quitting as a Public Health minister in March 2019.

This was not true, it seems. And the company was given a Covid-19 contract worth £100,000 subsequently. Did Brine act as a lobbyist? Both he and the firm deny it. But they would, wouldn’t they?

And with corruption in government at an all-time high, it seems unlikely that we’ll get the facts, whether they’re innocent or not.

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MPs in safe seats are more likely to abuse the security by taking second jobs. Proportional Representation, anyone?

 

Geoffrey Cox: he has a safe seat, so he felt perfectly comfortable taking a second job and treating his Parliamentary work as a hobby.

 

Suddenly proportional representation is looking like the wise choice after all – isn’t it, Britain?

Some might say the result of the 2011 referendum on whether to introduce proportional representation for Parliamentary elections in the UK was a dire warning of the corruption that we see in government today. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The bid to introduce a fairer voting system was resoundingly defeated by a 68 per cent of votes against to only 32 per cent for, on a turnout of 42 per cent of the electorate.

I wonder if the survivors of the other 58 per cent of registered voters at the time regret not bothering to turn up now they know that the result meant a continuation of “safe seats”, allowing the MPs who occupy them to corrupt themselves with second jobs with impunity.

You see, the current First Past The Post system lends itself to tribal voting, meaning that areas that traditionally vote for a particular party are likely to see that party’s representative into Parliament at every election, because there only needs to be enough of them to see off all the other contenders individually.

It means a minority of voters can impose their will – or, more realistically, the real plans behind the lies that their favoured party told to get elected – on the majority.

Do you think most of the UK wants the NHS carved up by a cabal of private corporations? Of course not – around 70 per cent of voters want full re-nationalisation. But that won’t stop the Tories taking it another step towards full privatisation – the exact opposite of what we want – on Tuesday.

By the same token, the individuals occupying those safe seats know that they’re unlikely to be voted out, so they know they can take second jobs and rake in the cash.

As the Guardian article states, the facts “undermine Boris Johnson’s suggestion that voters who disapprove of their MP’s outside work can simply unseat them at an election”.

Either that damned fool spoke without thinking (yet again), or he simply lied. Neither alternative is acceptable in a prime minister but – oh! He’s in a safe Tory seat! So you can’t vote him out.

You see how it works?

Pretty much all of the problems we have with our democracy today stem from the fact that in 2011 the UK voted not to have one.

Clive Lewis’s words (above) are absolutely true – but there is a fatal flaw.

The 2011 referendum was a once-in-a-lifetime situation, forced by the fact that the Tories had failed to win a majority in Parliament and a referendum was a condition of their coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Now we live in a dictatorship where Boris Johnson lied his way to an 80-seat Conservative majority. Neither he nor any Tory who replaces him will ever allow another referendum because they know it would end the dictatorship they have lied so hard to achieve.

And we’re unlikely to see another hung Parliament for the foreseeable future because the main opposition party – Labour – is currently run by a red Tory wetwipe who probably couldn’t win an election if he was the only candidate.

Public opinion might push Johnson towards a gesture of some sort, but it won’t be much. He has already watered down plans to restrict MPs from holding second jobs.

And this week he can distract us all with the votes on the NHS and on asylum seekers.

Bread and circuses. It’s a tactic that has worked since Roman times – because you’re always going to fall for it. Or will you..?

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Tory hypocrite Rosindell exposed over Universal Credit uplift and MPs’ second jobs

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): perhaps the Conservatives should rename themselves the Corruption Party?

Remember when Romford’s Tory MP Andrew Rosindell caused outrage by saying this on national television?

Now, with all his Conservative Party hypocrisy on display for all to see, he has defended MPs who have second jobs:

What is his rationale for these opposing viewpoints? That “people are different” and the poor don’t need money as much as his piggy friends with their snouts in the trough?

That would be nonsense. He is defending the indefensible. If Tory MPs don’t like being made to survive on £82,000 a year, they should be absolutely horrified that they are forcing people to live on less than one-tenth of that amount if they’re on Universal Credit.

But they aren’t because they simply don’t bother to think about the effect of their persecution policies on other people.

Remember, this is an MP who supported cuts to benefits for people with disabilities – then parked his campaign care in a disabled parking space:

The absolute, thundering hypocrisy of this position really bites through in satire:

Oh, and just one more observation:

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Owen Paterson no longer has his second job after being forced to quit as MP

Owen Paterson with his (former?) boss, Peter Fitzgerald of Randox. It seems that, after being forced out of Parliament, Paterson has also “stepped back” from his consultancy work. Wouldn’t he need that job more, now?

The BBC is reporting that Owen Paterson, whose refusal to accept a month’s suspension as an MP after being found to have been using Parliamentary space and equipment to carry out his second job sparked a scandal… no longer has his second job.

Apparently he has “stepped back from his consultancy work, for which he was earning £100,000 a year on top of his £81,932 MP’s salary”.

Really?

But his former colleagues – like Andrew Rosindell – have been arguing that MPs are, really, hard-up and need these second jobs to survive (poor dears!) so wouldn’t Paterson now need his consultancy work even more?

Perhaps he needed it more than his employers needed him, after his removal from the Green Benches. So I have to ask: did he step back or was he simply dropped?

It has been argued – persuasively – that MPs are only hired by firms to represent their interests to the government. We have seen a wealth of evidence to this effect in the awarding of Covid-19-related business contracts.

Owen Paterson is no longer an MP. And suddenly he no longer has his second job.

Doesn’t this simply confirm what was argued? And shouldn’t the likes of Laura Kuenssberg admit it, rather than shrouding it with obscure verbiage?

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Tory MP who said Marcus Rashford should focus on his day job has a second job herself

Marcus Rashford: he has done far more for the United Kingdom than Natalie Elphicke.

Natalie Elphicke should have learned to keep her opinions to herself after she tried to influence senior judges after her husband was convicted of sexual assault. Clearly she didn’t.

That breach of the MPs’ code of conduct resulted in a pathetic punishment – just one day’s suspension from Parliament. Clearly it wasn’t enough to teach her the lesson she needed to learn.

Earlier this year, she criticised Marcus Rashford – the footballer whose campaigning ensured that the poorest schoolchildren could avoid malnutrition by forcing the government to continue providing free school meals to them during school holidays at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

After he missed a vital penalty in the Euro 2020 final, she said he should have focused on his football rather than “playing politics”.

What a hypocrite! It turns out that she is among the legion of Tory MPs who have a second job.

The Mirror has the story:

Perhaps Ms Elphicke was distracted from her responsibilities as an MP by the demands of her own second job?

In any case, since she is clearly averse to the idea of people having occupations that distract them from their main work – and therefore must disagree with the Tory claim that it brings a “richness” to their Parliamentary experience…

Will she be resigning her £100-an-hour second job any time soon?

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Now Tories are lining up to justify their second jobs


Aren’t a lot of Tories on the take?

Check out this message showing Tories who can earn up to £400,000 from their second jobs:

Goodness! John Redwood, Damian Green, Andrew Mitchell, Chris Grayling (really? Did somebody really want their business to fail)… Iain Duncan Smith…

Let’s look at Iain Duncan Smith.

Good point, that. He said he could live on £53 a week – talking the talk.

But he’s got a second job worth £25,000 per year. So he doesn’t walk the walk. What a surprise.

And guess what?

That’s probably even more corrupt than Owen Paterson.

So why isn’t the man we call RTU (Return To Unit) being Returned To his family Unit (they always quit saying they’re spending more time with their family), never to return?

Is it because the Tory media have decided that Owen Paterson was the sacrificial lamb and now the Tories have “suffered enough” (another media claim)?

Or is it because his “broader experience” in selling non-alcoholic hand sanitiser to the government of which he has been a member is supposed to benefit the nation – as Sajid Javid’s roles advising banking giant JP Morgan and artificial intelligence firm C3.ai benefited the nation because it gave him broader experience?

But, but, but… Javid only advised these outside organisations on matters in which he already has knowledge and experience (although not very much in the case of banking; he’s allegedly one of the damned fools behind the Great Recession of 2008 or thereabouts).

The nation would be better-off without him getting in the works and stinking them up, wouldn’t it?

All in all, Skwawkbox’s suggestion seems wise:

Will the Tories ever willingly take it up?

No.

And it’s not because of any flannel about helping the government with outside expertise.

It is simply because they are all on the take. They should all be in prison, not on the Green Benches.

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How can Starmer tackle Tories with second jobs when he’s had several himself?

Keir Starmer: he’s been on the Westminster second-job gravy train (albeit not in a big way) so he can’t criticise Tories who’ve done the same.

The public may be furious about Tory MPs who took lucrative second jobs representing big businesses when they should have been representing their constituents – but what help will they get from the Opposition?

None, it seems – because Labour leader Keir Starmer himself has taken second jobs.

In 2016, he worked for law firm Mishcon de Reya, declaring £4,500 in income for advising its academy between June 1 and September 30 that year.

But after joining the shadow cabinet as shadow Brexit Secretary that October, his application to return to work for the firm was vetoed by then-leader Jeremy Corbyn, and there was a good reason he should have done so.

Mishcon de Reya had represented Gina Miller when she challenged the authority of the UK’s Tory government to use delegated powers to invoke Article 50 of the European Union treaty to exit the bloc (she said – rightly – that only Parliament could remove rights that Parliament had granted).

When he became shadow Brexit secretary, Starmer became privy to information that could have created a conflict of interest between his work as a shadow Cabinet member and his second job.

I’m astonished to find myself in agreement with James Cleverly on this:

Starmer has since declared further income from employment outside Parliament.

He clearly not only approves of MPs having second jobs but has actively engaged in the activity himself – so he cannot credibly oppose the practice.

There are other reasons to be concerned about Starmer’s connection with Mishcon de Reya. It’s apparently the apartheid state of Israel’s favourite UK law firm…

… and it represented people involved in the controversy over the way Labour handled allegations of anti-Semitism against its members.

When these people sued Labour, Starmer caved in and paid them six-figure sums, even though he had been advised that Labour would win.

Keir Starmer is currently sitting on the report of the Forde Inquiry, that examined claims made about the behaviour of many of those involved in this controversy.

What a tangled web we weave!

It seems that, not only does the scandal over Tory MPs’ second jobs give us reason to believe Starmer would not pursue the matter with the necessary (forensic?) diligence…

It also suggests a conflict of interest that means Starmer should never have had anything to do with the Forde Inquiry or any part of Labour’s investigations into anti-Semitism.

He never declared it. Who knows how many Labour members have suffered injustice as a result?

Is this apparent corruption enough reason to demand Starmer’s resignation?

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Radio 4’s Martha Kearney tries to tar Gordon Brown over MPs’ second jobs – and fails

Gordon Brown: this is apparently the only image of him in the Vox Political archive – and is about as clear as Martha Kearney’s perception of him.

Here’s more evidence that the BBC is heavily Tory-influenced – and now we can mark down Martha Kearney as a Tory/Establishment mouthpiece, if we hadn’t already done so.

Former New Labour prime minister Gordon Brown appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (November 10), where he made the following statement:

In response, Ms Kearney tried to catch him out:

Here is the correct interpretation of that incident:

Yes indeed; she was trying to smear an honest man – and (even though he wasn’t a proper socialist) a better prime minister than anybody we’ve had since.

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Will there soon by a by-election in Geoffrey Cox’s constituency?

Geoffrey Cox: he has a rich, booming voice. One wonders whether we will hear it raised in his defence… and one finds it doubtful.

If the people of North Shropshire had good reason to reject Owen Paterson for using his Parliamentary office for outside work, what about the electors of Torridge and West Devon?

Their MP – the former Attorney General, Sir Geoffrey Cox – has been found using his office for work centred not just outside Parliament, but outside the United Kingdom altogether.

It seems he has been acting as a legal advisor to an inquiry by the government of the British Virgin Islands into – ironically – alleged government corruption.

This work seems to have involved at least two journeys to those paradisical Caribbean islands, in April and June this year.

So it seems reasonable for people in Torridge and West Devon to ask whether their MP carries out any work for them at all.

Coming after the scandal over Owen Paterson’s work for Randox, it amplifies fears that Conservative MPs with second jobs are occupied far more with them than with their first duty – to represent the people of their constituencies.

Cox has been paid more than £700,000 for his BVI work – a vastly higher amount than the £82,000 he gets as an MP.

Labour has demanded an inquiry by the Parliamentary standards commissioner based, it seems, on evidence that Cox used his publicly-funded Parliamentary office to carry out some aspects of his privately-funded second job.

The situation has attracted the usual level of British humour – with its usual barb of satire:

The comment by “Luke” refers to an incident in which Boris Johnson hid in a fridge to avoid being questioned on a difficult subject by members of the press.

It represents an expectation by the general public that our excuse for a prime minister would rather run away from the evidence of wrong-doing by his Parliamentarians than deal with it.

This is bolstered by the fact that Johnson himself stands accused of corrupt practices and may face further investigation (having already been found guilty of wrong-doing) by standards commissioner Kathryn Stone in the near future.

And she is not likely to handle it with a light touch, after he tried to force her to resign last week.

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Tory hypocrites say they can’t survive on £82k but we can make do with £18k; Johnson runs away

Backhander: if Tories are taking money from corporates, who do you think they are representing in Parliament? It isn’t you!

It doesn’t matter which side won the Parliamentary debate on whether having a second job is a mark of corruption in a member of Parliament – or whether they should be paid more, so they don’t need(?) another job.

The public decision has already been made.

So Peter Bottomley’s miserable pleading that £81,000 per year isn’t enough and MPs should be paid more is easily dismissed – especially when most of the country is trying to exist on less than £18,000.

Advisory roles?

They’re too easily corrupted into paid advocacy – exactly the kind of thing that led to Owen Paterson’s ejection from Parliament:

Richard Burgon’s comment echoes one I made a few days ago: that companies don’t hire MPs to “advise” them – they hire MPs to represent their interests when plum contracts become available.

Senior Tories still think it is acceptable to speak in support of this attitude:

Well, there are lots of MPs with second (and more) jobs in Parliament:

The rot goes right to the top:

And I wondered whether Randox will still want to employ Paterson when he is no longer an MP. What do you think the answer will be?

We’re even making jokes about it, in typical British style:

And where was Boris Johnson during the debate?

 

 

In fact, he was in a hospital in Northumbria, making a potential contagion risk out of himself by wandering around without a face mask.

He was challenged on the subject of the Parliamentary debate! But he showed what an absolute and utter disgrace he is by refusing to answer it, point-blank:

He didn’t have an answer. So, typically of this prime minister, he ran away and left his underlings to take the flak.