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In a vote this week in Parliament Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow opposed Labour proposals to end the practice of MP’s having second jobs. By 287 to 219 votes, the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition backed the practice of MP’s holding directorships and consultancies to top up their £67,000 basic salary. Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers attacked Lib Dem support for failing local people. She said:
“I regularly hear people here in Sutton say: ‘You politicians are just in it for yourselves’. So why isn’t Paul Burstow listening? When trust in politicians remains at an all-time low, this week has been another bad one for Mr Burstow who continues to ignore the opinion of Sutton residents.
“Voters deserved to be safe in the knowledge that every MP works and acts in their interests. Whilst most do, some apply ‘convenient interpretations’ to current rules. That’s why we need reform.
“No Labour MP in the new Parliament will be able to hold second jobs involving consultancies and paid directorships. We are now consulting on legislation to make this a statutory ban, as well as imposing a strict cap on all outside earnings.
“People in Sutton and Cheam need to know that when they vote they are electing someone who will represent them directly, not be swayed by what they may owe to the interests of others. I give that undertaking and call on the other candidates to do likewise.
“The current rules are clearly not fit for purpose, especially when £7.4M additional earnings were made by MP’s last year. I’ve no doubt that Labour's measures would make politics more open, transparent and trusted.
“We will not prevent MP’s from doing a certain amount of work to retain any professional skills they had acquired before entering Parliament, such as working as an engineer, doctor or a lawyer. However, there would be a reasonable limit, as is the case in many other countries, to how much they could earn.
“By Paul Burstow’s vote against improved standards and transparency it is clear that he wants to see business as usual. What he doesn’t realise is that the status quo is becoming more and more unsustainable and indefensible. That’s why there will be a clear choice at the forthcoming general election: between the Labour Party, which wants big reforms, our politics opened up, and big money taken out of politics - including new rules and new limits on second jobs; or the Tories and Lib Dems who shy away from fixing broken trust in politics. As long as Paul Scully and Paul Burstow defend current arrangements, MP’s will get richer and politics poorer for it. That’s why I’m offering an alternative.”

The basic salary for an MP from 1 April 2014 is £67,060 annually. MPs also receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London and in their constituency, as well as travelling between Parliament and their constituency.
On 25/02/15 Paul Burstow MP (Lid Dem) voted against Labour’s motion to ban MP’s from holding paid directorships and consultancy roles. Labour’s motion was lost by 287 to 219 votes:
Labour’s proposals for wider regulation of second jobs includes:
• Existing contracts - Due to contractual obligations, time will be given for MPs to resolve any existing contracts they may have. People will be able to honour their contracts but by the time of the next election we expect no Labour MP to have a paid directorship or consultancy.
• Timing - The ban will come into force for all Labour MPs in May 2015. Labour MP’s who are elected in 2015 will not be permitted to arrange any remunerated contracts to be directors of commercial companies or consultancies.
• Definition of a directorship or consultancy - The definition of consultancy is someone employed to give professional advice to a third party operator. A directorship is anyone who is a member of the governing board of a corporation or association. We are banning PAID directorships and consultancies.
• Mechanism - This will be part of the PLP’s standing orders from the 2015 General Election onwards. It will be included in our manifesto.
• Earnings cap - We are exploring the additional measure of an earnings cap. We’re consulting on options for how that might best be done.
• Cap level - One of the options we are looking at is the American system that has a cap of 15% of a senior American official’s salary.
• Professional qualifications - We will consult on this because there are questions about allowing the likes of doctors to keep their qualifications up to date, but not to spend large amounts of time earning money in those roles. The US system for example does allow people to carry out some medical work for that reason.
• Books - Royalties for books are a specific issue that would need to be consulted on. It is dealt with in the US system by allowing royalties so long as they are on standard terms, but not advances.
• Assets - The implementation of the cap will need to take into account people with assets prior to becoming an MP. We’ll consult on how those are managed.
• Running a small business - People obviously have a full time job as an MP after they are elected. If they own a company that’s one thing and no-one’s proposing stopping that, but they shouldn’t be running it as a paid director – our rule on paid directorships and consultancies would cover that.


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