PART-time MPs lining their pockets with lucrative second jobs at the expense of voters must be punished, Boris Johnson warned tonight.
After a week-long sleaze row from hell the PM finally came down hard on colleagues making money on the side while neglecting their “primary” day jobs.
At a press conference he blazed: “Those who are not putting the interests of their constituents first, which is all of our duty as MPs, they should face appropriate sanctions and punishment.”
It’s a veiled slap-down of Tory bigwig Sir Geoffrey Cox who raked in £400,000 as a barrister but barely turned up to Parliament.
The former Attorney General insists he’s not broken any rules and cleared his work for the British Virgin Isles government with Chief Whip Mark Spencer.
MPs’ second jobs have come under the microscope in the fallout of the Owen Paterson scandal that left Mr Johnson facing a backlash for trying to save him.
Mr Paterson quit after the PM pulled the plug on a controversial bid to protect him from a guilty verdict that he used his job as an MP to benefit two firms.
The PM once again refused to apologise for the mess but said: “Those who break the rules must be investigated and should be punished.”
But he did say MPs that have second jobs enrich the House of Commons with “life experience” and insisted it “strengthened our democracy”.
Mr Johnson said: “For hundreds of years MPs have gone to Parliament and also done work as doctors or lawyers or soldiers or firefighters or writers or all sorts of other trades and callings.”
The PM also denied that Britain was a corrupt country and swatted away questions about his own affairs.
Mr Johnson – who is facing a probe over payment of his No10 flat refurb – insisted he’s done everything above board.
The PM made a surprise dash back to Glasgow today to bang heads together in the final stages of the COP26 climate talks.
He urged countries to “pull out all the stops” to seal a deal on slashing global emissions to save the planet.
But rivals accuse him of running scared from the sleaze storm raging through Westminster.
Mr Johnson has also binned off a Cabinet away day at Chequers tomorrow in favour of a more muted gathering at Downing St.
Sir Keir Starmer has leaned into the idea of banning MPs holding consultancy jobs where there’s a risk of paid advocacy.
Downing St says Mr Johnson – who as a backbencher was himself paid as a newspaper columnist – does not support “an outright ban” on second jobs.