Johnson insists UK not corrupt amid row over MPs’ second jobs

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed claims that corruption was rife within the UK, as his ruling Conservative Party was embroiled in a slew of high-profile sleaze allegations about MPs with second jobs.

Revelations that the previous legal professional normal, Geoffrey Cox, used his parliamentary workplace for profitable non-public work have triggered a requirements inquiry, at the same time as he maintained he had not damaged any rules.

It got here after Johnson final week tried – and failed – to vary the rules on sanctioning errant MPs, when one other Tory MP, Owen Paterson, was discovered to have lobbied ministers for 2 corporations that had him on the payroll.

Both instances have opened up MPs to renewed scrutiny about potential conflicts of curiosity, greater than a decade after a scandal over bills that brought about public anger and prompted a string of resignations.

But Johnson instructed reporters on a flying go to to the United Nations local weather change summit in Glasgow: “I genuinely believe that the UK is not remotely a corrupt country. Nor do I believe that our institutions are corrupt.”

Cox defends second job

Cox, the previous legal professional normal, on Wednesday defended his 400,000-pound ($540,000) a 12 months second job, insisting he had not damaged any rules.

He mentioned his work as a lawyer didn’t take him away from representing constituents within the southwest England district he represents in Parliament.

Cox has been below fireplace for incomes a number of occasions his 82,000-pound ($110,000) politician’s wage doing authorized work, together with advising the federal government of the British Virgin Islands in a corruption inquiry.

He was allowed to vote by proxy in Parliament whereas he was within the Caribbean nation, a British abroad territory.

While finishing up exterior work is allowed, the Times newspaper printed a video on Wednesday which appeared to indicate Cox collaborating in a authorized listening to from his parliamentary workplace, an obvious breach of the rules.

According to Cox’s declaration, he’s paid 400,000 kilos a 12 months for as much as 41 hours’ work a month [File: Justin Tallis/AFP]

In a defence of his second job, Geoffrey Cox claimed he gave “primary importance and fully carried out” his work in his constituency.

“He does not believe that he breached the rules but will of course accept the judgment of the Parliamentary Commissioner or of the Committee on the matter,” Cox’s workplace mentioned in a press release on his web site.

Members of Parliament are allowed to earn exterior earnings, so long as they declare it and it doesn’t shade into lobbying. According to Cox’s declaration, he’s paid 400,000 kilos a 12 months for as much as 41 hours’ work a month.

‘Insult to taxpayers’

Deputy chief of the primary opposition Labour Party Angela Rayner mentioned Cox have to be investigated.

“Geoffrey Cox using his taxpayer-funded office in Parliament to work for a tax haven under investigation for corruption is a brazen breach of the rules and an insult to taxpayers,” she tweeted.

“I have written to the Commissioner for Standards urging an investigation,” she added.

The controversy on Cox’s second earnings comes as Johnson’s authorities battles to dismiss allegations of corruption that had been triggered when it tried to engineer a change within the system that oversees politicians’ requirements.

The UK chief sparked outrage final week when he tried to overtake parliament’s inside disciplinary course of, after the House of Commons requirements committee beneficial a Conservative Party legislator be suspended for 30 days.

Owen Paterson was discovered to have dedicated an “egregious” rules breach, after he repeatedly lobbied ministers and officers on behalf of two firms paying him greater than £100,000 a 12 months.

The authorities modified course the following day, however now’s below rising strain to tighten up the rules. While Paterson in the end resigned, Johnson’s dealing with of the affair badly broken get together morale.

The episode was the newest gasoline for allegations that Johnson and his Conservative authorities don’t comply with rules that apply to everybody else.

Lawsuits have been launched over the federal government’s awarding of tens of hundreds of thousands of kilos ({dollars}) in contracts to supply gear and providers through the coronavirus pandemic – usually in haste and with little oversight.