Politics

Tory MPs give up advisory roles in wake of row over second jobs


Three Conservative MPs have ditched advisory positions in the wake of last month’s furore over Westminster second jobs.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith gave up a £20,000 post with a health group, while ex-Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith quit jobs worth £144,000 a year and former health minister Steve Brine dropped work worth £20,000 a year with a pharmaceutical firm.

All of the posts came to an end within days of Boris Johnson’s 16 November call for a ban on parliamentary consultancy, strategy and advice work, as he struggled to get back on the front foot on sleaze following his botched attempt to save Brexit comrade Owen Paterson from punishment for paid lobbying.

There is no suggestion that any of the MPs doing advisory work had breached rules in the way that Mr Paterson did.

But Mr Johnson’s plans, approved by the Commons in a vote the day after they were proposed and backed by an interim report of the House’s standards committee earlier this week, would also ban wider advisory work involving MPs drawing on their experience and knowledge of parliament.

At least 30 MPs have recorded earnings from consultancy work, according to the register of MPs’ interests.

But the latest edition of the register includes amendments apparently triggered by the impending change in the rules, which are due for implementation following the publication of the standards committee’s final report in January.

Chingford and Wood Green MP Sir Iain recorded that his membership of the international advisory board of Tunstall Health Group, involving up to 30 hours’ work a year for £20,000, came to an end on 30 November after three and a half years.

Mr Smith, MP for Winchester, gave up his positions as external adviser with Hygen Energy Ltd, Simply Blue Management (UK) Ltd and MJM Marine Ltd on 16 November.

And Skipton and Ripon MP Mr Brine’s post as a strategic adviser to Sigma (Pharmaceuticals) came to an end on 18 November.

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