Keir Starmer responds to PM's comments over sleaze row
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Sir Keir heralded a “significant victory” for the Labour party after Mr Johnson released a letter sent to Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle which has called for the Code of Conduct of MP’s to be updated in order to restore the confidence of the public. It comes as MPs this afternoon voted to undo a Commons motion voted through the Chamber on November 3, ending two weeks of Tory sleaze allegations in the wake of the Owen Paterson and Sir Geoffrey Cox scandals.
The Labour leader said: “We have had two weeks of Tory sleaze and corruption.
“And be under no illusion the Prime Minister has only done this because his back is against a wall.
“Because we the Labour Party have put down a binding vote for tomorrow.”
Sir Keir suggested instead that Mr Johnson’s plans to ban MPs from working as paid political consultants or lobbyists was a “significant victory for the Labour Party.
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Sir Keir claimed: “It would not have happened if we had not put down that binding vote.
“This is a Prime Minister who has shown no leadership whatsoever.
“It is a step forward in standards in public life.”
In the letter to the Speaker, Mr Johnson said: “An MP’s primary role is, and must be, to serve their constituents and to represent their interests in Parliament.”
Keir Starmer reacts to Boris Johnson's letter to Speaker
He went on to suggest that the Code of Conduct should be updated so that Parliament “continues to command the trust of the public”.
There is currently no limit on the number of hours an MP can earn for outside work.
This would see a ban of second jobs held by MPs for paid lobbying and consultancy work. Any change will require a formal vote in the House of Commons.
The move follows the resignation of former North Shropshire Conservative MP Owen Paterson who was found by the Commons Standards Committee to have been in an “egregious” breach of standards expected of MPs.
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Mr Paterson carried lobbying and consultancy work out for Lynn’s Country Foods, a food distribution company, and Randox Laboratories, a medical diagnostics company.
Mr Paterson received over £500,000 on top of his MP’s salary, for his work for both firms carried out over a five-year period.
While the Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, Sir Geoffrey Cox, received almost £1million for law advisory work representing the British Virgin Island’s in a bribery case put forward by the United Kingdom.
Sir Geoffrey had not broken any standards rules with his work but his vast second salary has been the focus of fierce criticism, which comes on top of his £81,932 for being an MP. He was also found to have been collecting rent off his taxpayer-funded flat, which also does not break any rules.
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