Geoffrey Cox’s Lesson in Comic Timing

Overnight it emerged the government’s dropped plans to limit MPs’ earnings from second jobs over concerns such caps on pay or hours would be “impractical”. Feedback submitted by Barclay and Spencer to the Commons Standards Committee consultation outlines their opposition:

“The imposition of time limits would not necessarily serve to address recent concerns over paid advocacy and the primary duty of MPs to serve their constituents. It could be possible, for example, for a Member to conduct work within the accepted time limits but that does not necessarily mean such work is ‘appropriate’ even if it did not constitute ‘paid advocacy’.”

“In respect of a cap on earnings from outside work to impose such a limit could serve to prohibit activities which do not bring undue influence to bear on the political system. Earnings from activities such as writing books for example, would not preclude Members from meeting their principal duty to their constituents.”

Ironically given the consultation was sparked by the Geoffrey Cox second earnings row, the day this feedback emerges the latest register of MPs’ interests has been published – and Cox has registering another £54,354.50 for 35 hours of legal services. Cracking timing.

Other big earners include Theresa May whose trip to Australia to ‘to promote gender diversity in politics and business’ totalled £38,700; and Rachel Reeves who pocketed £25,121.63 for ‘research and writing services’. MPs also totalled over £2,000 in articles, Chris Bryant took £200 for Any Questions, Esther McVey £3,150 for her GB News presenting, and Dawn Butler £1,500 for Have I Got News For YouShe needs to have a word with her agent – Jess Phillips got £15,000…

mdi-timer 17 March 2022 @ 12:00 17 Mar 2022 @ 12:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cox Finding Makes Mockery of Commons Sleaze Rules

Geoffrey Cox has been let off the hook by parliament’s Standards Commissioner. Kathryn Stone has found Cox not guilty of using his Commons Office during a Zoom call for his second job, on the grounds there is insufficient evidence to justify beginning an inquiry. Despite screenshots and videos having him bang to rights…

Stone’s limp-wristed decision sets an alarming precedent, arguing the rules on the use of taxpayer-funded parliamentary offices should be operated with a degree of proportion. While this creates an absurdly subjective grey area, Guido confesses he worried this would be the outcome. As the scandal played out last month, he spotted that while the 2010 MP’s handbook had explicitly said Commons Offices must not be used for non-MP work, this rule had been written out of the guidelines come the 2017 update:

In 2010 MPs were instructed that no resources provided should be used for “personal or party use”, however by 2017 this rule had been watered down to only refer to stationery and IT services.

Far from this decision only impacting Geoffrey Cox, it also jettisons Guido’s campaign against five Labour MPs he’d caught using their parliamentary offices to campaign in by-elections: Matt Western and Catherine West for Batley & Spen; Helen Hayes and Vicky Foxcroft for Old Bexley & Sidcup; and Kate Green for both.

Guido wrote to all five last Friday asking why they thought it an appropriate and fair use of taxpayer-funded resources, unsurprisingly receiving no reply from any. Guido reckons Kathryn Stone must be one of the few taxpayers in the country happy to fork up her cash for MPs like Cox et al to abuse the system and let them get away with it…

mdi-timer 30 November 2021 @ 16:18 30 Nov 2021 @ 16:18 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MPs Declare a Staggering £274,109 This Month Alone From Second Jobs Despite Sleaze Row

Despite the ongoing sleaze row, MPs continue to rake in thousands of pounds from second jobs. This month Guido went through the register of interests and totted up all the money MPs are making through their side hustles…

This month alone, MPs have declared a combined £274,109 on top of their generous £81,932 salaries. Highlights include:

  • Sir Geoffrey Cox receiving £54,000 for legal work carried out in August.
  • Keir “No Second Jobs” Starmer earning £135.78 in book royalties. 
  • David Lammy taking £3,895 this month for speaking events. Earlier this week, Guido revealed Lammy has earned £150,000 since 2010 on articles and speaking gigs. 
  • Jess Phillips earning £2,240 from Independent articles.
  • Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross declaring £6,728 for football referee work from November 2020 to January this year. He was forced to apologise for previously failing to declare his salary…
  • Sir William Cash earning £31,800 working as a solicitor for William Cash & Co.
  • Nus Ghani receiving £60,000 per year for working just 7 hours a month as the non-executive Chairman of the Belfast Consortium Supervisory Board.

This comes as Boris Johnson backs a ban on some second jobs, though it’s not likely many of the above would be affected by his watered down proposals. Despite the scandal, MPs are still raking in the dough… 

mdi-timer 19 November 2021 @ 12:22 19 Nov 2021 @ 12:22 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Caption Contest (Not a Prayer Edition)

Entries in the comments…

mdi-timer 12 November 2021 @ 13:15 12 Nov 2021 @ 13:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Geoffrey Cox Wants Someone To Do His Parliamentary Work

Guido was perusing the Tavistock Times when he noticed a well paid opportunityThe local MP is offering a generous £39,981 for a senior caseworker to help with constituency matters. You will have to get your CV in quick, applications close next week. Geoffrey Cox is looking for an all-rounder with the usual skills, plus diplomacy. That will be handy with all the international work going on in the office, although Guido fears it might not be a long term position…

UPDATE:  Cox’s office has issued a robust statement

Sir Geoffrey’s view is that it is up to the electors of Torridge and West Devon whether or not they vote for someone who is a senior and distinguished professional in his field and who still practices that profession. That has been the consistent view of the local Conservative Association and although at every election his political opponents have sought to make a prominent issue of his professional practice, it has so far been the consistent view of the voters of Torridge and West Devon. Sir Geoffrey is very content to abide by their decision.

mdi-timer 10 November 2021 @ 11:06 10 Nov 2021 @ 11:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
“Working From Haven” Geoffrey Cox Prepares for Tropical Storm

Former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox had a busier lockdown than most. Instead of baking banana bread and binge watching Tiger King, the Tory MP found himself working two jobs, earning himself more than £1 million in outside legal work this past year. Cox is well known for being the highest-earning MP after receiving almost £900,000 from law firm Withers and more than £130,000 for other legal work…

Taking advantage of the government’s “work from home” instruction Cox jetted off to the sunny tax haven of the British Virgin Islands between April 29 and May 31 this year and proceeded to cast votes by proxy, participating in Commons debates via Zoom. At the same time he managed to work an additional 140 hours on his far more lucrative contract with Withers 4,000 miles away. Glad he’s got his priorities in order…

This story comes as a sleaze scandal rips through Westminster and people question whether MPs should be allowed to work second jobs. On LBC this morning Dominic Raab said that it’ll be “up to voters to decide whether their MP has the right priorities”.

Guido realises he is not best placed to criticise someone for working on an island away from the Westminster focus of his work. All Guido will say is, it looks like Cox is about to find out that life can be a beach – does he need the MP’s salary anway?

mdi-timer 9 November 2021 @ 10:17 9 Nov 2021 @ 10:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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