MPs should ‘put public service first’ after second jobs sting, Michael Gove says
Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove said today that MPs must “put public service first” after undercover reporting revealed a handful of MPs were willing to provide advice to a foreign company in return for sizeable fees.
Politicians Matt Hancock and Kwasi Kwarteng were left red-faced after anti-Brexit campaign group Led By Donkeys released footage of them saying they would be willing to work for a handful of days a year for a fake Korean company if they were offered, in some cases, as much as £10,000 a month.
Kwarteng said that as an MP, he “didn’t need to earn a king’s ransom” but wouldn’t “do anything less than £10,000 a month,” while Hancock said his hourly rate was “around £1,500.”
Gove told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday that while the employment offered was “within the rules”, MPs’ “first duty” is to their constituents.
“Inevitably all of us will reflect on this and think the first duty of a member of Parliament is towards their constituents,” Gove said.
“Ultimately, the really important thing is, is an MP delivering for their constituents, is a member of Parliament doing everything they can to put public service first?” he added.
Gove said it was “important” that “every MP operates in a way that is transparent”.
“When members of Parliament do work that complements the work they do in the House of Commons, then it is absolutely vital that we know who is paying them, what they earn and that is what the register (of MPs’ interests) is there for.”
Sir Graham Brady, who was also caught in the sting, said he had an “exploratory discussion” but had made it clear “any arrangement would have to be completely transparent” and within the MPs’ code of conduct.
Hancock’s spokesman said he had “acted entirely properly and within the rules” and it was “completely untrue” and “absurd” to suggest any wrongdoing.
“[Matt] acted within the letter and the spirit of the rules, making it crystal clear from the outset that his parliamentary and constituency duties are his primary responsibility for now,” he said.
Kwarteng has been approached for comment.