Should MPs have second jobs? Here’s what your representatives think

L-R: Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas, Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez and Romford MP And

L-R: Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas, Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez and Romford MP Andrew Rosindell - Credit: Archant

With Westminster engulfed in a debate over MPs holding second jobs outside parliament, Havering's representatives have been among those debating changes to the rules.

On Wednesday evening, MPs voted to support Boris Johnson’s proposals, which would restrict outside work to “reasonable limits” and prohibit political advice or consultancy. 

The Labour Party abstained on the vote after its initial motion – which called for a ban on MPs holding “any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant” – was defeated by 231 votes to 282. 

The prime minister’s amended motion subsequently passed 297-0. 

None of Havering’s three MPs – Romford's Andrew Rosindell, Hornchurch and Upminster's Julia Lopez and Dagenham and Rainham's Jon Cruddas – have registered income from consultancy work on the Register of Members’ Financial Interests in the past year. 

Mr Rosindell did not vote on the proposals as he was taking part in a roundtable about British overseas territories at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as part of the Joint Ministerial Council. 

Andrew Rosindell leading calls for relaxation of pet rules

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell - Credit: Andrew Rosindell

However, in a TV appearance earlier this week, he urged the government to be "cautious" over rule changes. 

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The Conservative MP told BBC Newsnight: “We have to be careful about this, we have to realise we are dealing with human beings who have families and responsibilities. 

“Whilst, as I have said before, the first duty must be to Parliament, to the constituency and to the work we do for our country, any changes I think should be evolutionary.” 

A spokesman said the MP was “absolutely clear” that he was in favour of “evolutionary change” to the system. 

He added: "Andrew is absolutely clear that he is in favour of evolutionary change to ensure that all MPs are as committed to their constituencies as he is to Romford.  

“What he doesn't want to see is MPs forced to give up second jobs if these second jobs genuinely enhance their abilities as a parliamentarian.  

“He wants lawyers, businesspeople, doctors, nurses and so on in Westminster, not just career politicians."

This comes after Mr Rosindell came under fire for comments about the removal of the £20 universal credit uplift - he said people "quite like getting the extra £20 but maybe they don’t need it".

Mr Cruddas supported Labour’s motion and abstained on the amended version. 

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, uncovered the fact that the Beam Park station had never actually been approved by the Department for Transport - Credit: HM Govt

Speaking to the Recorder, he reiterated his support for the Labour Party’s proposal to ban all second jobs for MPs, except who do public service work, such as doctors and nurses.  

He said the controversy around former Tory MP Owen Paterson has "opened up the issue".  

“The Tory MP Geoffrey Cox sitting on a Caribbean island and giving legal advice to a foreign nation and receiving £6,000,000 in fees is not my idea of being an MP and representing constituents," he said.

“The prime minister has been forced into taking action because the revelations of what some his Tory MPs have been up to has shone a light into some very murky practices, but he watered down Labour's proposal to fully tackle the issue and help clean up our politics. 

“Representing my constituents across Dagenham and Rainham is a full-time job."

Ms Lopez voted against the Labour Party’s original motion and in favour of the amended motion. 

Julia Lopez MP

Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez. - Credit: Julia Lopez

She told the Recorder: “I backed government proposals last night to tighten up the rules on second jobs for MPs - as set out by the prime minister in his letter to the speaker earlier in the week. 

“This means that work will now begin in earnest on a cross-party basis to amend our code of conduct, banning MPs from acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists.  

“While outside roles can bring depth and breadth to parliamentarians' knowledge, they should never usurp or interfere with an MP's primary role as legislator and representative of their constituents.  

“I hope that in adopting these recommendations, the public will have greater confidence and trust in the way in which the house works.”