COMMENT: Standards committee's findings must be debated in Commons

Former health and social care minister Caroline Dinenage is not breaking any rules by taking on a non-executive director role with a care home developer.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 25th March 2022, 12:00 am

The MP for Gosport says it will only be for two days a month and won't distract from her work on behalf of constituents.

She adds that the position with the LNT Group, a company owned by Tory donor Lawrence Tomlinson, has been fully approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which considers applications for new jobs for former ministers.

In assessing her directorship, ACOBA noted that the MP had toured an LNT site while she was a social care minister, but her former department had no concerns about her taking up the job.

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It's not rocket science to work out that a company in the care home business would be keen to have an MP and former social care minister on the board to help with policymaking and planning.

But it begs the fundamental question: should she and fellow MPs should be allowed to take on such second jobs that boost their income?

Not long ago Boris Johnson vowed to crack down on outside paid roles after a public outcry over MP Owen Paterson being found to have breached lobbying rules.

But now the government has decided to drop plans to cap MPs' second job earnings.

It had previously pledged to tighten restrictions around lobbying and consultancy after a Commons standards committee consultation.

Cynics will say the prime minister's U-turn is all about appeasing rebellious backbenchers by allowing them to carry on with nice little earners.

Whatever the truth, we agree with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan when he says that when the committee's report is complete it should be fully debated in the House of Commons.