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Boris Johnson embraces ban on MPs having second consultancy jobs

by editor

LONDON — Boris Johnson on Tuesday backed proposals to ban MPs from working second jobs as political consultants and lobbyists.

The prime minister said it was “imperative” to “put beyond doubt the reputation of the House of Commons” following his botched handling of an investigation which found that former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson had committed an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules. Paterson had approached government bodies about two firms, Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods, which employed him as a consultant.

Johnson has been under increasing pressure to act since his government was forced to reverse an attempt to park Paterson’s proposed suspension from the Commons, and compelled to overhaul the members’ standards system. The furor has renewed focus on the outside interests of MPs, including former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox who has been making hundreds of thousands of pounds representing the British Virgin Islands from both London and the Caribbean.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons Johnson also backed a proposal, made in a 2018 report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, to investigate and punish MPs who neglect their duties to constituents and prioritize outside interests.

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