Good morning. Boris Johnson might have been hoping that, after yesterday, outrage about Tory sleaze would have handed the excessive water mark and that the information agenda would begin to transfer on. However it hasn’t labored out like that, and this morning the entire sleaze/misconduct/corruption concern has bought second wind and is again with a vengeneance. Alex Wickham in his London Playbook briefing has a very good round-up of all the brand new developments, however the spotlight is the Every day Mail splash, by Harriet Line and Jason Groves, which begins like this.
A Tory MP has earned lots of of 1000’s of kilos from a second job that noticed him vote in Parliament remotely from the Caribbean.
Geoffrey Cox, a QC and former lawyer normal, is advising the federal government of the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven accused of corruption.
He took benefit of lockdown guidelines to forged votes within the Commons by proxy as he labored 4,000 miles away on the profitable contract earlier this yr, a supply disclosed.
Sir Geoffrey yesterday revealed he has earned greater than £1million from exterior authorized work over the previous yr on high of his £82,000 wage as a backbencher.
The Mail is just not alleging that Cox has damaged any legal guidelines. However, as MPs found in the course of the bills scandal, what issues within the court docket of public opinion (a judicial surroundings the place Cox’s expertise are properly under QC stage) is what folks assume is approporiate, not what’s authorized.
Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, was on morning interview spherical responsibility for the federal government. As justice secretary, he would usually be anticipated to applaud a British lawyer making good cash overseas, however clearly that wasn’t the road to take at the moment.
Requested about Cox, and whether or not it’s proper for an MP to be spending a lot time on a second job as an alternative of representing his consitituents, Raab’s first response was to say that the truth that we learn about this was a victory for transparency, and the foundations that drive MPs to declare their earnings and their hours in instances like this.
Raab stated it was official for Cox to be advising a international authorities on authorized issues on this method. He advised Instances Radio:
In relation to the British Virgin Islands, I used to be the international secretary that commissioned a fee of inquiry, given the allegations of misgovernance and really critical ones, together with felony wrongdoing.
Now, I’m not going to get dragged into what particular person MPs do, however truly having the previous lawyer normal – and it wasn’t my resolution, he was employed by the federal government of the BVI to advise them on how you can appropriate and deal and handle these allegations – truly, is a official factor to do so long as it’s correctly declared.
And naturally, it’s fairly necessary in that parliament, which is accountable residually for some areas of our relationship with the abroad territories, we’ve bought some data of what’s occurring in these territories.
However on the broader query of whether or not an MP ought to be spending a lot time on a second job, and incomes a lot from it, Raab was equivocal. He wouldn’t defend Cox. However he didn’t criticise him both, and as an alternative he stated it was as much as Cox’s constituents to resolve what was proper. Requested if he was “snug” with this, Raab advised the At present programme:
As I made very clear, it’s not for me to get snug or in any other case with it.
It’s for the voters in any particular person constituency to take a look at the document of their MP and resolve whether or not they bought the proper priorities.
That seemed like a imprecise trace that the Conservative affiliation in Torridge and West Devon, or the citizens there as an entire, is likely to be justified to find a brand new MP on the subsequent election.
I’ll put up extra on Raab’s interviews shortly.
Right here is the agenda for the day.
10am: Michelle Stanistreet, normal secretary of the Nationwide Union of Journalists, and Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana, head of regulation at Impress, give proof to the Commons tradition committee on the web harms invoice.
11.30am: Downing Avenue holds a foyer briefing.
2pm: A minister offers an announcement within the Scottish parliament on Covid.
2.30pm: The British Retail Consortium, the Chilly Chain Federation and UK Hospitality give proof to the Commons surroundings committee on labour shortages; at 3.30pm Ben Broadbent, deputy governor of the Financial institution of England, offers proof.
Additionally, in line with the BBC, the federal government will at the moment affirm that Covid vaccines shall be obligatory for NHS frontline employees in England from subsequent spring.
I attempt to monitor the feedback under the road (BTL) however it’s unimaginable to learn all of them. You probably have a direct query, do embody “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra prone to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions, and if they’re of normal curiosity, I’ll put up the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.
If you wish to entice my consideration shortly, it’s most likely higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.
Alternatively, you’ll be able to e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supply & Picture rights : https://www.theguardian.com/politics/stay/2021/nov/09/geoffrey-cox-tory-mps-second-jobs-dominic-raab-boris-johnson-uk-politics-live-latest-updates
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