After the leader of the Labour Party wrote there should be a ban on second jobs for MPs, host Jon Kay was keen to find out why he was pushing for the change in rules after he had previously held a second job himself. Starmer became irate as he defended his past actions and Kay pressed him on why it was okay for him to be paid as a lawyer when he was an MP but now he is party leader, he wants to change the rules.
Kay remarked: “Let’s talk about standards in public life, sleaze, you’ve written in the Yorkshire Post today you have a clear plan for MPs, banning second jobs.
“Is that a total ban? No MP can have second jobs.”
Starmer replied: “Yeah it’s a strong ban on all MPs having second jobs.
“There are very limited exceptions, what I would call public service exceptions and I will give you just two or three very quick examples.
“Some of our MPs work on the front line in A&E and did during Covid because they are qualified health professionals. I think most people would say there is a public service element to that and it is a reasonable thing to do.
“Other MPs, and I will make this cross party are police reserve and army reserve, there are MPs in all different parties who are those.
“Again, I think people would say, ‘Well there’s a public service element.’
“But the general principle should be no second jobs for members of parliament. That’s a change I am proposing going forward.
“You’re now saying ban all second jobs and a few years ago, I hate to keep going back through the history books but a few years ago, you were taking money for giving advice and acting as a lawyer when you were an MP.
“I mean, again, it’s this question of when you’re saying now compared to then. There’s inconsistency.”
Starmer argued: “Well let me answer that directly. Firstly I have given up my legal certificate, the best of two years ago.”
Kay interrupted: “Yeah but when you’re not leader of the party, you were earning tens of thousands of pounds acting as a lawyer offering advice.”
Starmer snapped: “I heard the question and I’m about to give the answer if you just permit me to do so.
“I’ve given up my certificate, the best part of two years ago, I’m not qualified to give advice as a lawyer and haven’t given advice as a lawyer in that period. SoI have no personal interest in this.
“Before that, I did give legal advice in accordance with the rules. What I’m now proposing is whether it’s legal advice or something else, where we have a clearer rule, no second jobs for MPs except in those limited exceptional circumstances.”
BBC Breakfast airs daily on BBC One at 6am.
Published at Fri, 19 Nov 2021 09:51:01 +0000