Johnson proposes banning MPs from working as paid consultants

Former prime minister Theresa May has warned of the 'damage' caused to all MPs and parliament by the sleaze row.

Johnson proposes banning MPs from working as paid consultants Parliament TV

A ban on MPs working as lobbyists or paid political consultants has been proposed by Boris Johnson in the wake of the Westminster ‘sleaze’ row.

The ongoing controversy began after Owen Paterson resigned as an MP following an attempt by the Conservatives to block his suspension for an alleged breach of lobbying rules.

In a letter to Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoy, the Prime Minister said the UK Government believed the code of conduct for MPs should now be updated.

He also said MPs who are prioritising outside interests over their constituents should be investigated and appropriately punished.

And he proposed a ban on MPs acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Theresa May warned of the “damage” caused to all MPs and Parliament by the Westminster sleaze row.

She said it was clear that Paterson had broken lobbying rules and the attempt by MPs “aided and abetted by the government” to save him was “misplaced, ill-judged and just plain wrong”.

“Let’s be clear, this is not a party political issue. Damage has been done to all Members of Parliament and to Parliament as a whole,” she told the Commons.

“It would be a mistake to think that because someone broke the rules, the rules were wrong.

“The rule on paid advocacy is a longstanding one.

“The problem came because there was an attempt to effectively let off a then-member of the House.

“That flew in the face of the rules on paid advocacy and in the face of the processes established by this House.”

The Maidenhead MP urged the government to look at recommendations on how to strengthen rules on MPs’ standards put forward by a committee in 2018.

May said wider issues over the service given by MPs to their constituents is a matter “for their electorate”.