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MPs with second jobs face conflict of interest probe

02 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Alun Cairns. Picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

MPs who have second jobs are facing a conflict of interest probe from a House of Commons committee.

There are concerns that Members of Parliament who serve on informal parliamentary groups while working in second jobs could be exploiting a lobbying loophole.

An inquiry by the Standards Committee will look at whether MPs who sit on All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) that lobby for certain industries should no longer be paid by organisations in those same industries.

The Committee launched an inquiry into APPGs, which are suspected to be a way for vested interests further their commercial agendas.

Former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns  is vice-chair of the APPG on taxis, which has agreed to “continue pressuring the government to provide urgent financial support for taxi drivers”.

The MP for the Vale of Glamorgan is also paid as a senior adviser to Veezu, the private hire and taxi firm based in Newport. He makes £15,000-a-year by providing “strategic advice” to the firm according to the register of interests.

Veezu, describes itself as the “UK’s leading multi-region private hire taxi company” and took over Cardiff’s Dragon Taxis in 2015.

The company’s website promises prospective drivers: “When you partner with Veezu you gain the flexibility and support you need to drive your way to success.”

‘Criticised’ 

But the company has been criticised over its treatment of drivers and trade unions by Stephen Doughty, the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth.

Speaking in the Commons in 2017, Doughty said: “I am concerned that companies such as Dragon and Veezu, who operate taxi firms, are not willing to meet drivers to discuss their concerns or to meet the GMB. That is of great concern to me.”

Later that year he said the company had “dealt with some of the charges and unfair fees that drivers faced.”

Nation.Cymru has previously revealed Cairns had accepted a £15,000-a-year job as an advisor to the BBI Group, a firm working on Covid-19 tests.

It means the former secretary of State for Wales now earns more from his side jobs than the average annual earnings of workers across Wales (£25,680) or in his constituency (£28,022).

His total earnings are at least £121,932-a-year when his £81,932 MPs’ salary and income from a rental property in Cardiff are taken into account.

His commitment of up to 70 hours to each role also means he could spend the equivalent of three and a half working weeks on his outside interests.

Cairns says he has consulted ACoBA, the UK government’s anti-corruption watchdog, about the new appointment but their advice has not yet been published.

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Phil Jones
Phil Jones
1 month ago

Greedy Alun should be ashamed but of course isn’t

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago

HoC committee. Expect a coverup.
Bozo does not have the moral authority to sack anybody for an offence he has committed himself. So that’s pretty much all of them.
He also does not have morals.

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago

I asked this on another post too, but has anyone else noticed that Simon Hart looks like Alun Cairn if he had been cursed by a witch?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

And not a moment too soon. M.P’s are paid a decent salary for representing their constituents. The practice of topping up has been tolerated far too long especially when they take on these dubious “advisory” roles. Conflict of interest should be eliminated as it immediately calls into question the integrity of the Member concerned.

Shan Morgain
1 month ago

I have never understood why MPs are allowed to hold second jobs. They are well paid, and should devote themselves to this important job. Cutting off other earnings would deter a large number who are motivated by greed. But then I do understand why MPs are allowed to hold second jobs. It’s MPs who make the laws.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago

Ooh! Any chance to bring this up and I will take it – remember what he said about Italians on Radio Cymru? If not, look it up.

Dic Sion Cairns, pa bynnag cyst o aur ma nhw’n dy addo di, cofia di beth wyt ti iddyn nhw. Cymro bach bradychus. Newn nhw iso ti, ond newn nhw fyth dy barchu, gw boi.

Vaughan
Vaughan
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Dic Sion Cairns – chi wedi taro’r hoelen ar ei phen gyda hynny!

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
1 month ago

Be nice if they also looked at the ‘legal'(?) bribery in the HoC and Lords. ‘Donors’ can give massive cash bungs (or Euro final tickets worth thousands) to MPs who then vote in support of the donors’ interests and it’s all okay, provided they admit they’ve taken a bribe. That’s insane.

#1Chris
#1Chris
1 month ago

It would. But the anti-sleaze commissioner was appointed by Boris and is one of his Bully bully bullingdon dining club chums.
So no chance of a trustworthy investigation of Westminster

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