Ex-Tory ministers 'eyeing up barrels of fake cash', Mhairi Black says

SNP attack Tories after senior figures offer consultancy services to fake firm for up to £10,000 a day.

Mhairi Black has accused Tory politicians of “eyeing up barrels of fake cash” after several high-profile members of the party were found to be offering consultancy services to a bogus firm at a rate of thousands of pounds per day.

The SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster referenced footage released from the political campaign group Led By Donkeys that showed a number of former ministers attempting to take on lucrative work for a fake South Korean company.

Conservative MPs including Sir Graham Brady, former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, and former health secretary Matt Hancock revealed daily rates of up to £10,000.

The sting operation saw the politicians approached by a non-existent firm seeking advice from UK politicians as it aims to expand into Europe.

There is no suggestion any rules were broken.

At PMQs on Wednesday, Black asked Dominic Raab – who is filling in for Rishi Sunak as he attends a funeral – what his daily rate would be.

She said: “Can I ask the deputy prime minister, when he is inevitably booted out of office, what will his going rate be?”

Raab, who is under investigation for bullying accusations, replied: “The system of declarations is there to ensure transparency and accountability, and of course the Conservatives backed tightening up those rules to make sure there couldn’t be any lobbying.”

Black accused Raab’s colleagues of “eyeing up fake barrels of cash” during a cost of living crisis, saying “it’s the people across these isles that have been led by donkeys”.

She added: “The former health secretary (Hancock) also said he would impart his wisdom for £1,500 an hour. Most nurses earn little above £15 an hour.

“Who does the deputy prime minister think is best value for money and for the public?”

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab was standing in for the Prime Minister at PMQs on Wednesday.

Raab responded: “I’m delighted that the majority of the health unions have accepted the pay settlement. We think that that’s absolutely right.

“And she raises the issue, and of course we’ve worked with, on a cross-party basis, to curb the limits on second earnings.

“I notice the benches on this side (Labour) are curiously quiet. Is that because there are 10 shadow cabinet members on their benches who are taking earnings?

“In particular the shadow foreign secretary (David Lammy) looks like he certainly doesn’t want to be under the limelight.

“He’s got second earnings from 40 different sources. I don’t think they can talk about … We’ve done everything we can to make sure that there’s transparency and accountability.”

Following the sting, Downing Street said an MP’s primary job should always be to represent their constituents.

A spokesperson said: “It is right that MPs’ financial interests are transparently and publicly declared online.

“MPs having second jobs can contribute to their work in Parliament, so we think this strikes the right balance.”

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