Sajid Javid says MPs should not use parliamentary offices for other job amid demands against former Justice Minister Sir Geoffrey Cox | Politics news

MPs should not use their parliamentary office for work in connection with their second job, a cabinet minister has told Sky News as a senior Conservative faces accusations that he misused his Commons office to carry out legal work.

According to The Times, former Attorney General Sir Geoffrey Cox used his parliamentary office to take on some of his work for the law firm Withers.

His entry in the membership register interest he shows earned more than £ 800,000 for the company, which represents the Government of the British Virgin Islands in a corruption case brought by the British Government.

Video footage taken from the YouTube channel of the BVI Commission of Inquiry by Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Cox, who attended the British Virgin Islands Commission of Inquiry, where he represented the BVI government ministers at a distance on 14 September.  Date of issue: Tuesday, November 9, 2021.
Sir Geoffrey Cox on remote participation in the British Virgin Islands Commission of Inquiry in September

Asked by Kay Burley whether MPs should use their parliamentary offices for outside work, Health Minister Sajid Javid said: “No.”

“You may be trying to drag me into a single case,” he said when asked what would happen to a Member of Parliament if it was found to have done so.

“But if someone with good reason thinks they might [be doing that] so what they have to do is ask the relevant authorities to investigate it and they can come down to the facts.

“Whether it’s your parliamentary office or other parliamentary papers or something funded or supported by taxpayers, of course it should not be used.

“I think the rules are clear, and of course all Members of Parliament are expected to abide by it at all times.”

Labor has called on the anti-sleaze watchdog, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, to look into the matter; the allegations.

Deputy Angela Rayner said: “This seems to be a gross, cheeky violation of the rules.

“A Conservative MP using a taxpayer-funded office in Parliament to work for a tax haven facing corruption allegations is a slap in the face and an insult to UK taxpayers.”

The Honorable Member’s Code of Conduct states that all facilities “made available from public funds” are used “always in support of their parliamentary duties”, adding: “It should not give them any unnecessary financial benefit”.

It comes after it was revealed that Sir Geoffrey was voting by proxy in the House of Commons while earning hundreds of thousands of pounds for legal work more than 4,000 miles away in the Caribbean.

Sir Geoffrey’s office has been contacted for comment.

Asked if MPs have other jobs, Mr Javid said he was in favor of them.

But he continued: “I think the most important thing is that a Member of Parliament, whoever he or she is, is completely transparent and open and follows all the rules, so that their constituents and the wider public know that they may have another. interest.

“But I also think it’s important that they continue to spend the vast majority of their time on their parliamentary affairs and their constituency affairs.”

According to his entry in the register of members’ interests, Sir Geoffrey performed approximately 434 hours of work for Withers between January and July this year, with an average of more than 15 hours per week.

Sir Geoffrey, by proxy, took part in this year’s Commons vote on the clothing scandal and on the protection of the British steel industry.

And by taking advantage of the Commons, which allows widespread voting – introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Sir Geoffrey was also able to appear at a corruption inquiry held in the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory, on the same day as the votes were taken.

The revelation that Sir Geoffrey voted externally in the Commons while also participating in lucrative legal work abroad comes amid a new focus on MPs’ second job after the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal.

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