A former Welsh secretary took a £15,000-a-year job at a diagnostics company a few weeks before it was part of a consortium that secured a £75 million government contract for lateral flow tests.
Alun Cairns is the latest Conservative MP to be revealed as having worked as a paid adviser to a company that was awarded valuable government contracts during the pandemic.
Alongside parliamentary duties, he agreed to work up to 70 hours a year for the BBI Group as a senior adviser “providing strategic advice to the board”.
This could have gone in the Covid thread too.
A son of James "Jammy Fishfingers" Goldsmith being involved in tax irregularities? I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!
Somewhere the ghosts of Richard Ingrams and Peter "Lord Gnome" Cook are cackling with laughter.
What's nearly as shocking is someone of the obvious probity of Bloviating Johnson playing fast and loose with rules. Shocked!
Two MPs have admitted using their Commons offices for non-parliamentary paid meetings.
Liberal Democrat Layla Moran and Conservative Crispin Blunt appeared via video link on a panel discussing political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
The event last November was organised by law firm Bindmans LLP.
According to the register of financial interests for MPs, Ms Moran was paid £3,000 by the firm and Mr Blunt received £6,000.
Bindmans described the meeting as an "evidence session", which heard from human rights organisations and family members of detained Saudi Arabian activists.
Under House of Commons rules, MPs must not use the parliamentary facilities for non-parliamentary work.
The wildlife charity that employs Carrie Johnson is facing further questions over its finances, after its latest accounts show it paid more than £150,000 in “interior design services” to the chairman’s wife last year.
A separate statutory inquiry was also announced into the management of Howlett’s Wild Animal Trust, which is also chaired by Aspinall, and whose trustees include Aspinall’s daughter Tansy.
Looks like Rees-Mogg is in trouble now, we can see why he wanted to scrap the standards comission etc.
He borrowed up to £2.9m a year in director’s loans from UK-based Saliston Ltd between 2018 and 2020
He did not mention them in his MP register of interests, where he declared himself an ‘unremunerated director’.
By using ‘director’s loans’, Rees-Mogg was able to borrow the £6m at a very low interest rate
The interest he paid amounted to 0.8% of the total borrowed over 3 years
HMRC rules say you have to charge minimum 2% interest on director's loans
He said today the loans were taxed
The MP code of conduct requires directors to declare ‘taxable benefits’
No wonder JRM was looking queasy in the Commons the other day.
I imagine this was playing on his mind.
Oh, look - https://www.theguardian.com/politics...cret-for-years - MPs, under a Tory government, changed the rules on recording details of second (third, fourth, etc) jobs so that us poor, unsophisticated voters don't have to bother our pretty little heads about any of it, and they so kindly did it without telling us, so we didn't tax our poor little brains over the full implications of this...
We are not worthy of such generosity from our - tugs forelock in the direction of Westminster - clear betters...
In other news, Jennifer Arcuri continues to demonstrate how much of B Johnson's brain is actually in his cock...
DOUGLAS Ross has said he “doesn't know why” he didn’t declare more than £28,000 in salaries.
In an interview with Good Morning Scotland, the Scottish Tory leader blamed the undeclared cash on an “extremely bad” error which he said was his own fault.
He said he is now actively working with parliamentary authorities and that he is “extremely sorry”.
The undeclared money was revealed in a Herald investigation in which the MSP and MP failed to declare 16 football matches totalling £7000 where he worked as a referee.
The Herald also reported the Moray MP failed to declare his salary as a Holyrood MSP, worth around £21,000 a year.
Ross said: “Yeah, it was a bad error on my behalf. I've obviously done it throughout the time of being an MP a bit.
"There's a period at the end of last year. I've tried to work out why I missed 16 games. I don't know why I did that.
"I noticed myself last week and I got in touch with the parliamentary authorities. I worked with him to get the register up to date.
"But you know, I am extremely sorry, this was a bad error. It was all of my own making, and I've tried to rectify it as soon as it came to light.”
I changed my bedding this morning, there was nearly £30.000 in the Duvet cover
I'm so careless sometimes.
remember when he held a no confidence motion and wanted Nicola to resign because she couldn't remember a date?
I wonder if he remembered to tell the tax man about all the forgotten cash.
HS2 rail extension to Leeds set to be scrapped
The government is set to scrap the eastern leg of HS2 between the Midlands and Leeds, sources have told the BBC.
The Transport Department will instead announce a new rail plan on Thursday, involving £96bn of funding for new routes in the North and Midlands.
Sources said the impact of scrapping the Leeds leg of HS2 would make journeys longer by 20 minutes.
But the government is set to argue the new plans will deliver comparable benefits more quickly and cheaply.
A source told BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley they would show an "enormous amount of common sense"
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a group of northern local authorities and business leaders, said the decision to scrap the Leeds leg of HS2 was a mistake.
Director Henri Murison said: "The reported loss of any of the new line on the eastern leg of HS2 is damaging, reducing the benefits of the section being built now between Birmingham and London.
"Without the benefits to areas such as Yorkshire and the North East, HS2's status as a project to drive the whole of the UK is undermined considerably."
A proposed Northern Powerhouse route from Leeds to Manchester is now expected to be made up of some new line, but it will mostly consist of upgrades to the existing track.
The new track on the route will not allow high-speed rail travel.
The route is not expected to go via Bradford, a key request of many in the city and surrounding area.
Of the £96bn set aside for the new 'Integrated Rail Plan' only £40bn will be new money
Levelling up at its finest. Must have realised none of his mates have estates in Yorkshire land so why improve the access.
If a government really did want to see a levelling up of the country they would locate each ministry in a different city, leave the foreign office in London, home office goes to Birmingham, house of common relocated to Leeds, Health to Manchester and so on.
well, at least we know that no Tory MP had a job as a consultant for the eastern leg of HS2
Boris Johnson is facing growing controversy over a proposed new law that will hand Michael Gove the power to set the remit of the hitherto independent watchdog that oversees elections and party finances, including donations.
Under the elections bill, now passing through parliament, the Cabinet Office minister, Gove, would be given power to set the entire remit of the commission, as part of a series of changes that ministers say will strengthen democracy. But opposition parties, and some senior Conservatives, say the bill will be seen as another attempt to dismantle checks and balances in the system, and rig the political process in favour of the Tories.
Some pro-Brexit Tories have criticised the commission for over-reaching itself, particularly with its investigations into key figures in the Vote Leave campaign. Gove is known to have been one of those keen to rein in its work.
Critics of the bill say it bestows unprecedented and unchecked power on government over elections in two ways; first, by empowering ministers to set both the agenda and purview of the commission, and second, by enabling the minister for the Cabinet Office to change which organisations and campaign activities are permitted a year before any election in the UK. They say ministers will be able at a stroke to ban whole sections of civil society, including unions and charities, from engaging in elections by campaigning or donating.
The Cabinet Office says the bill is a “necessary and a proportionate approach to reforming the Electoral Commission while respecting its independence”.
A longish BBC article about the challenges the NHS is facing:
Over the last 70 years, government spending on healthcare has, on average, been at 3.8% above inflation.
The 1997-2010 Labour government increased it by 6% above inflation on average.
Since 2010 it has increased at around 1% above inflation (I'm not sure if the tens of billions spent on Covid is included in this figure).
Two women, including a Conservative MP, have accused the prime minister's father, Stanley Johnson, of touching them inappropriately.
Caroline Nokes told Sky News that Mr Johnson had smacked her "on the backside about as hard as he could" at the Tory Party conference in 2003.
And political correspondent Ailbhe Rea has accused Mr Johnson of groping her at the 2019 Conservative conference.
Mr Johnson told Sky he had "no recollection" of Ms Nokes.
When approached about his alleged behaviour, Mr Johnson said: "I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all - but there you go. And no reply... Hey ho, good luck and thanks."
After these comments, Ms Rea tweeted: "Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019.
"I am grateful to Caroline Nokes for calling out something that none of us should have to put up with, not least from the Prime Minister's father."
The government's attempt to reverse changes to the system for monitoring Parliament's standards has been blocked by a Conservative MP.
The Commons was expected to pass a motion on Monday night to formally scrap plans to overhaul the process.
Ministers have already abandoned the controversial proposal, after an outcry from opposition and some Tory MPs.
But an objection by Christopher Chope meant a motion to confirm the U-turn could not be approved.
The motion was put to a vote late on Monday, without being debated. The government will bring it back for a vote and one-hour debate on Tuesday.
Backbench MP Mr Chope shouted "object" in the Commons chamber, meaning it could not be put to a vote under Commons rules.
I saw that - he's basically a serial objecter, he pretty much objects to any motions that look like being passed without debate in the house.
This really means that the government can't just sweep the U-turn under the carpet with a no-debate exercise, they have to have it discusssed in the house.
Some of the complaints about Chope forcing a debate are quite revealing in their sources and also the nature of the comments about him - https://www.theguardian.com/politics...in-the-commons.
He's clearly rattled quite a lot of his party "colleagues", making one wonder what who has to hide...The comment about de-selection in that piece is also revealing of the thought processes involved.
Which brings me back to a point a couple of us have made about MPs: if they are not to do what it is claimed they do - debating potential legislation, scrutinising bills, holding the executive to account, representing constituents' interests - but are just there to be lobby fodder, trooping through as the whips instruct them to, why do they need to be paid so much and do we even need them?
While I don't always agree with Chope, he is pretty consistent in this sort of action and is trying to make Parliament function something like as it should.
I hope that, as part of the debate, someone from the Labour benches manages to ask about all the untruths various Tories have been telling about the investigation into Paterson and the whole investigatory process and why te party hasn't corrected these obvious untruths.
"Paid lobbying is wrong and members found guilty of it should pay the appropriate penalties,” says Rees-Mogg, who just two weeks ago ordered all Conservative MPs to vote to stop someone guilty of paid lobbying from paying the appropriate penalties.
Boris Johnson tweeted
United Kingdom government official
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
Caroline Lucas (Green MP for Brighton) tweeted
Odd we haven’t had a 3 point plan from @BorisJohnson banning MPs from
1. Accepting luxury holidays in Mustique
2. Accepting loans for a flat make-over
3. Giving someone a peerage and govt job and subsequently accepting a free stay in a £25k a week luxury villa
And selling House of Lords seat for £3 million?
That's already illegal. But apparently not enforced.
All MPs with 2nd jobs need to do is remove political consultant from the job description. Non executive director, there you go. Keep calm and carry on.
UK inflation is at a 10-year high.
The good news just keeps on coming for Boris Johnson and his government :rolleyes:
Another argument is that external gigs allow MPs to get more life experience. I'm not sure how continuing to be a hedge fund manager or a highly paid QC benefits an MPs constituents. I'd argue that a better way to ensure MPs have relevant life experience is to cast the net wider in the MP selection process.
Sadly it's just the usual greed and cronyism and although the other parties are not entirely free of it, the modern day Conservative Party is unusually brazen in its sleaze.
There are a few MPs who are still GPs etc., so could argue that they bring experience (and need to maintain professional registration and skills) - but as you say, overall I find it very hard to find sympathy for anyone who thinks a salary around £90k/year is in any way restrictive. If tightening or clarifying the rules means that a few less Eton boys think politics is a gravy train, then so much the better.
The Speaker interrupted the prime minister's reply to Sir Keir Starmer and told him to sit down during Prime Minister's Questions.
Lindsay Hoyle had previously warned Boris Johnson in the same session about asking the Labour leader questions, reminding him it was his role to answer questions at the weekly event,.
Tells Boris "In this House, I am in charge"
video in link
He also gave all MPs a bit of a dressing down at the end of the session, saying "I don't think this has done this House any good today. I'll be quite honest, I think it's been ill-tempered, I think it shows the public that this House has not learned from the other week. I need this House to gain respect, but it starts by individuals showing respect to each other."
Not that it will make any difference. They will continue to see PMQs and the Commons in general as a place to play the game of politics, rather than a place of business.
Christopher Hope, Chief Political Correspondent at the Telegraph writes
Rumours that Sir Graham Brady might ask Boris Johnson to the 1922 committee tomorrow to explain his reforms to their ‘second jobs’.
It is hard to understate the anger. “Are we going to have to keep time sheets?” one asks me.
Another,“The letter has not been thought through. It is a panicked response and shows. Who decides what is a reasonable amount of time? Who decides what advice a Director can give. This needs careful thought. MPs are unhappy to be presented with this illogical letter.”
Boris Johnson proposes a knee-jerk response to a crisis of bad publicity which turns out to be poorly thought through.
How do these people not realise this is all about giving the impression of claiming down without actually doing anything about it?
Ha ha! Boris 'Harry Flashman' Johnson being put in his place by Speaker Lindsey Hoyle.
Like something out of schooldays, with the head master thoroughly losing his rag and giving the whole class a dressing down. 'Form 5B: I will not tell you again!'
Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton under Lyne and Labour Deputy Leader tweeted
A government Minister just confirmed in Parliament that there are no minutes to the meeting(s) that took place between Lord Bethell, Owen Paterson and Randox as part of Randox being awarded £600 million of contracts without any kind of tender or any process.
By admitting that no minutes exist for the Randox lobbying meetings, the government has admitted that the governement is routinely breaking the Ministerial Code.
When a Minister meets an organisation or company an official must be present to keep a record of that meeting.
To return to BlowJob's appearance before the Liaison Committee...His bleating under questioning by Yvette Cooper that it was only 30 seconds he hadn't worn a mask at Hexham General is what us former MH bods call a flat out lie. The pix from HGH of him maskless are in at least 3 different parts of the hospital which are more than 30 seconds apart...Why was he constantly taking his mask off in between, despite at least 3 reminders about mask wearing and being able to see all the other folk wearing masks?
But I don't expect any of the committee to know that. Both members of this household do though...
And that was after lying to Chris Bryant about a "mistake" over the claims that Paterson had no right of appeal. Mistake or a deliberate decision not to read the relevant rules, not to read the report, nor to pick up the phone and ring Bryant or any other committee member, including one of the Tories, about any possible appeal under the existing process?
And why are journalists not pointing out all these repeated lies?
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