Boris Johnson, 57, faces a backbench backlash after he brought forward plans to ban MPs from acting as paid political consultants. Mr Johnson unveiled his proposals just moments before Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, 59, delivered a speech alongside Angela Rayner, 41, proposing to ban most outside earnings for MPs.
In his letter to Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, 64, the Prime Minister said: “MPs should never accept any payment or offers of employment to act as political or Parliamentary consultants or advisers.”
Mr Johnson’s amendment is also expected to call on MPs who are deemed to prioritise “outside interests over their constituents” to be “investigated and appropriately punished”.
The two proposals were put forward by the Committee on Standards in Public Life back in 2018.
The amendment comes in stark contrast to Mr Johnson’s initial response to the potential suspension of Brexit-backing backbencher Owen Paterson, 65, after the MP for North Shropshire was found to have earned over £100,000 while lobbying the Government.
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Mr Paterson, who served as David Cameron’s Northern Ireland Secretary from 2010 to 2012, resigned as an MP after the Government pulled its support for a move that would have overhauled current standards rules.
According to the Times, the Prime Minister’s decision to outflank the Leader of the Opposition and bring a vote before the House of Commons later today, could lead to some problems inside Mr Johnson’s party.
The broadsheet reports one Tory MP described the Prime Minister’s move as a “capitulation”.
While another said: “It’s pouring petrol on to the flames.
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Outside of Westminster, public support for the Conservative Party has dipped following the Paterson debacle.
Britain Elects, the UK’s largest polling aggregator, puts Labour narrowly ahead in their most recent poll tracker – the first time the Tories have fallen behind since November 2020.
According to current data, the Conservatives could lose 67 seats.
BBC Newsnight reports the Prime Minister is expected to appear before the 1922 Committee to address his “restless troops” tomorrow night.
Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, 55, told the BBC’s Nick Watt: “I’m very cautious on this because I know that some of my colleagues have jobs and outside work that they do and that means them having to give up… changing their lifestyle.”
Mr Rosindell, who has represented Romford in the Commons since 2001, added: “We have to be careful about this, we have to realise we are dealing with human beings who have families and responsibilities, so whilst as I have said before the first duty must be to Parliament, to constituency and for the work we do for our country, any changes I think should be evolutionary.”
But Mr Watt said one senior Tory expects tomorrow’s rebellion to fall short after they warned MPs have been left feeling “nervous” following a “shelling” from constituents.