New rules for MPs proposed following lobbying scandal | Politics News

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There should be an “outright ban” on MPs providing paid parliamentary advice, advisory or policy services, a report recommended.

The Standards Committee released its interim report on reforming the standards system following outcry over the Owen Paterson scandal, as well as an updated code of conduct for MPs.

The former Tory MP turned out to have breached lobbying rules with his work in the private sector of £ 110,000 per year.

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Chairman of the committee: the rules of conduct of deputies “must be revised”

He later resigned as a deputy after Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially asked Tory MPs to vote in favor of a motion ignoring Mr Paterson’s month-long Commons suspension, before turning back.

The case sparked renewed interest in second jobs and outside income for MPs, as well as the rules governing their conduct.

The committee announced that a “senior judiciary” will be tasked with examining whether the current system for dealing with alleged violations of the code of conduct is fair.

The committee and Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone are concerned that social media has allowed personal attacks that do not break the law to be “widely publicized” in a way that “may be considered unsavory” .

Ministers should also publish more details about their interests, recommends the standards committee.

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Paterson had “broken the rules” – PM

Mr Johnson has been criticized for declaring a free vacation at a villa owned by the family of Conservative peer and minister Lord Goldsmith on the ministers’ list of interests and not on the parliamentary register, which would require the disclosure of more details.

It is “manifestly inappropriate for ministers to be subject to fewer and less onerous financial interest registration standards than non-cabinet members,” MEPs said.

Such a move could leave ministers vulnerable to inquiries by the independent parliamentary commissioner, rather than the prime minister’s adviser on ministerial interests.

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“Shame”: MPs vote against the suspension of the former minister

In its interim report, which will be followed by a final document in the new year, the multi-stakeholder committee put forward a series of other recommendations for changing the system.

These include:

• MPs should have a written contract for any outside work that explicitly states that this cannot include lobbying ministers, members or public officials, or providing advice on how to lobby or influence parliament. . Employers should also pledge not to ask MPs to do so
• Clarify the criteria for the “serious misconduct exemption” in the current rules to make it clearer and prevent it from being used as a loophole for lobbying MPs.
• Increase in the lobbying ban period after receipt of an external interest payment from six months to one year
• Establish a ‘safe harbor’ provision that will protect MPs from investigating potential code of conduct violations if they seek advice from officials and follow them before taking on a role.

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Labor MP Chris Bryant, chairman of the committee, said he had presented a “package of reforms aimed at strengthening lobbying and conflict of interest rules”.

He said: “This report is the committee’s informed take on the changes we need to tighten the rules and tackle conflict of interest following a comprehensive, evidence-based investigation.

“We will consult and hear broader views on what we released today before submitting a final report to the House for decision in the new year.

“If approved, these strong proposals will enable the standards system in Parliament to better hold rule-breaking MPs to account.”

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