Parliament has been under heavy scrutiny in recent days after some MPs were found to have taken up lucrative second jobs, despite being paid almost £82,000 to sit in Westminster.
The row began when now-former Tory MP Owen Paterson was found guilty of breaching Parliament’s lobbying rules by using his position to benefit two companies which paid him as a consultant.
Although Downing Street quickly backed down, its attempts to change the rules for someone within the Conservatives has triggered further investigations into ‘sleaze’ within the party – although it’s important to note MPs across the House have second jobs.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith was also found to be working with a hand sanitiser company during the pandemic – he’s been accused of a “brazen conflict of interest” .
Some MPs have tried to defend themselves by claiming that their almost £82,000 salary is simply not enough – but that has gone down like a lead balloon.
Unsurprisingly, people have been quick to point out the irony of MPs defending their second jobs after the government lashed out at public figures, such as footballer Marcus Rashford who campaigned for free school meals at Christmas, for not sticking “to their day jobs”.
Another Twitter user pointed out that the prime minister himself has been investigated over potential breaches of parliamentary rules, although he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Still, when he told COP26 that MPs who break the rules must be punished on Wednesday night, one person asked: “Does this mean he’s resigning?”
Comic Matt Green mocked the entire situation by posting a spoof video, staging an interview between an employer and their “top-earning” employee – who is also an MP.
“The idea that you could also be moonlighting as a public representative is laughable,” he said.
LBC commentator James O’Brien also criticised the government, and said: ”It’s bit like having children – you kind of hope that they don’t need strict rules because they will behave sensibly themselves. But for children who are naughty all the time, you do need strict rules.”
He added: ”Unfortunately, we seem to have ended up with a delinquent kindergarten on the blue seats in the House of Commons.”
The presenter also pointed out that there are people who have taken two jobs among the Opposition benches as well.
Another person tweeted: “God this is mortifying. In front of the whole world, when you are trying to exercise diplomatic leverage at a pivotal moment. Utterly embarrassing.”
Liverpool Echo’s Liam Thorp tweeted: “One thing to say about these lucrative second jobs is that these people don’t have to be MPs, no one is forcing them.”