Johnson’s suggestion for tackling lobbying scandal taken from Senedd’s guidance to members
The Prime Minister’s suggestion for how to tackle MPs working second jobs as paid consultants has been lifted from the Senedd’s guidance on lobbying for Senedd Members.
Writing to the speaker of the House of Commons today, Boris Johnson said that “MPs should not accept any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant, for example, advising on parliamentary affairs or on how to influence parliament and its members”.
The wording is taken from the Senedd’s guidance on lobbying and access for members, which notes that they “should not accept any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant, for example, advising on National Assembly for Wales affairs or on how to influence the National Assembly for Wales and its members”.
The wording arrived in Boris Johnson’s letter via a 2018 report that referred to the standards set by the Senedd in Wales as a model for banning MPs from working as paid consultants.
I have written to the Commons Speaker to propose:
1) The Code of Conduct for MPs is updated
2) MPs who are prioritising outside interests over their constituents are investigated and appropriately punished
3) MPs are banned from acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists pic.twitter.com/3SSQqrKRCG
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 16, 2021
The Commons Committee on Standards in Public Life’s 2018 report, MPs’ outside interests, recommends following the then Welsh Assembly which has banned members from advising on how to influence parliament.
The report also recommends adopting elements of the codes of conduct of the Scottish Parliament and House of Lords, adding: “We recommend that the House of Commons should be brought in line with this practice.”
Boris Johnson’s surprise announcement came the day before Labour was set to force a vote in the Commons on whether second jobs should be banned completely at Westminster.
It came after Tory poll ratings fell following the Prime Minister’s failed attempt to protect MP Owen Paterson from punishment for a lobbying scandal.
Boris Johnson could however face a showdown with his own MPs who could lose tens of thousands of pounds a year from lucrative advisory work.