• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Should MPs be allowed second jobs?

ByRuweyda Ahmed

Apr 4, 2023
Image of matt Hancock at a covid briefing. he is stood infant of a sign that stays start alert, control the virus, save lives02/06/2020. London, United Kingdom. Health Secretary Matt Hancock holds the daily Covid-19 Press Conference with Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology and Coordinator of the National Testing Effort, John Newton in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

If you weren’t aware, ‘Led By Donkey’s’ posted a video on Twitter where an investigative journalist and others created a fake company called Hanseong Consulting headquartered in Seoul. This was to uncover what goes on behind closed doors with British politicians getting second jobs and how much they are asking for. This investigation was also to find out if the recent backlash in the past few years around second jobs would have changed MPs attitudes towards them.  

It is known that our MPs can legally take second jobs which are usually representing foreign companies even with potentially conflicting political interests. There has been discourse around this, and rightly so, as to how we can trust MPs financial interests. And, that it is just plain greedy. The three big MPs who were caught up in this scandal were Kwasi Kwarteng, Matt Hancock and Gavin Williamson but there were more. The clip shows them negotiating with Sooyeon Lee – an undercover reporter.  

Is it right that with the cost-of-living crisis, strikes in the public sector among other issues that an MP would still consider taking a job furthering the interests of a foreign company on top of their duties – and how much would they want to be paid? The conservatives especially are overrepresented in MPs who have outside earnings from second jobs.  

Kwasi Kwarteng was asked about his rate saying he wouldn’t do anything less than £10,000 a month. When he was then told the fake budget of £8-12,000 a day, he started grinning saying that the price is fine for 12 days work in the year and going to Korea. Matt Hancock said his hourly rate was £1500 or daily being £10,000 to be on the advisory board. Fairly high rate for two disgraced senior MPs, though Hancock will be stepping down as MP in the next election since his appearance in the Jungle. Gavin Williamson, more reluctant than the other two, did say he was available as soon as to work with the economy. These politicians who are embarrassingly gullible are caught on camera faffing about their skills, even using their ministerial positions to justify representing private companies.  

These are the people who vote on teachers, nurses and junior doctors pay. These are the people who are telling us there isn’t enough in the budget. That retirement age in the UK needs to be later. They are telling us the issue isn’t Tory policy but instead are fearmongering with refugees. High child poverty, longest NHS waiting times and a homelessness issue and MPs are using their time to do interviews. How can you trust an MP, who already earns a good enough wage, to not have a conflict of interest if they work for a private healthcare company? It’s hard to believe that they wouldn’t vote within their own financial interests but would still care for the most marginalised in this country.  

The whole thing is a joke, MPs shouldn’t be able to garter their political clout to put more money in their pocket. If you’ve been voted into a constituency your focus should be on representing those people. Instead, the people in charge of our country are eager to travel to a foreign country at the drop of a hat without vetting the company. Hancock even says his role as an MP is not intensive enough to stop his availability to travel.  

The amount of money these lot are asking for is ridiculous and deeply sinister considering the climate of the UK. This is not normal. Corruption, greed, and informal political influence is plaguing our politics. It is appalling and worst of all not even surprising that these MPs are looking to line their pockets while the rest pay for their mess. Richard Burgon has secured a debate for a bill to be backed to ban MPs from having second jobs and I agree with this. MPs salaries are the only ones going up, unsurprising, and second jobs are predicated on not being entirely focused on the country. It’s greedy and unfair.  

Matt Hancock Covid-19 Presser 02/06” by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.