Back towards the end of November there was a question and answer session between MPs and the Cabinet Officer Minister, Steve Barclay. One of the MPs that took part was Sally-Ann Hart who is the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye. She raised an issue that had already been discussed by many other people. If one takes the question and answer at face value, the limitations towards MPs is now set up to prevent them from holding second and third jobs and a range of other aspects. However MPs are of course only one element of Parliament and indeed as the response from Steve Barclay who is the Minister for the Cabinet Office suggested “it is for the House to decide“. Now clearly the Ministers are also MPs and one would assume that they would take the same approach although to be clear he was referring to “whether MPs should hold second jobs“. However it was clearly more broad than simply second and third jobs based on the comment from Sally-Ann. However we now know that Elizabeth Truss back in June had used her dominant role on a similar basis to the elements of the question from Sally-Ann Hart. She apparently insisted on taking on an opportunity to have lunch with some American representatives by using a location that is owned by a brother of a Lord in the Conservative Party and who funds the Conservative Party. The cost of the lunch was not small and in any case it is vital that the Government does not use its dominance in this way. So as we read the question and answer from a few weeks ago, it is vital that MPs such as Sally-Ann Hart and Ministers such as Steve Barclay will ensure that along with the MPs who have several jobs being closed down, that Ministers and the Government will be prevented from funding their chums and their party funders. So here is the question and answer that took place. Let us hope that Sally-Ann or Steve Barclay will now raise the issue that involved Elizabeth Truss.
Sally-Ann: The Prime Minister has backed a stronger code of conduct for MPs to ensure that an MP’s primary job is, and must be, to serve their constituents, and to represent their interests in Parliament rather than those of private businesses—or trade unions, for that matter. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the changes to the code of conduct suggested by the Prime Minister will create up-to-date, effective and rigorous rules?
Steve: I do agree with my hon. Friend. It is an MP’s primary job to serve their constituents and to represent their interests in Parliament, and indeed, the vast majority of MPs work tirelessly for their constituents. As you have said, Mr Speaker, it is for the House to decide whether MPs should hold second jobs, and that matter will be debated further in the Chamber.