Labour sleaze: The TWO awkward questions second job scandal has raised for Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer responds to PM's comments over sleaze row

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Second jobs for MPs has been the hot talking point for the past fortnight in Westminster. However, it’s not just the Tories who are implicated by this issue and Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, will be looking inwardly at his own party asking how this affects the political landscape moving forward.

The Prime Minister has announced his proposals, which will affect how MPs can work outside of their parliamentary duties.

The PM intends to ban MPs from accepting paid work as parliamentary advisors, strategists or consultants.

He is also asking that a new rule be introduced that states work MPs conduct outside of Westminster should be “within reasonable limits and should not prevent them from fully carrying out their range of duties.”

Mr Johnson’s plans will be referred to the committee on standards in public life who are expected to return their recommendations in 10 weeks time.

But it’s not just the Tories – who lost their lead in the polls in the wake of the scandal – that this has implications for.

Keir Starmer will have a lot to think about in the coming days and weeks as the gaze turns towards his party and how they are tackling the crisis.

Does the public really care?

Latest polling figures indicate that Labour’s popularity with voters is on the rise as a result of the sleaze scandal currently engulfing the Conservative party.

However, political analysts have argued that these gains could be insignificant.

Some believe that though Labour could make marginal gains over the Tories in the coming weeks it will not be enough to alter the political standing, currently in the UK.

Could it lead to a Labour surge?

In the mid-1990s similar Tory sleaze attacks were profitable to Labour as John Major’s government eventually came to an end.

Nonetheless, the conservatives would argue that circumstances between today and the 1990s are not the same and that there were more factors at play as to why they fell so short in 1997.

Labour themselves are also not clean from sleaze. Ex-prime minister, Tony Blair, acts as one high profile example of where the party has itself been implicated in the past.

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How did we get here?

Over a fortnight ago the PM attempted to save ex-Tory MP, Owen Paterson, from suspension.

This was after it had emerged that Mr Paterson had breached lobbying rules – for which he was paid more than £100,000.

Following backlash from the public and politicians alike, fresh questions were raised about MPs who worked jobs in addition to their role as an MP.

It has since emerged that a number of politicians earn second incomes on top of their annual MP salary of £81,932.

For instance, Sir Geoffrey Cox, the Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon, pocketed £970,000 last year for legal services he conducted, in the British Virgin Islands.

Other MPs who currently hold second jobs outside of Westminster include ex-prime minister, Theresa May, and the former transport and justice secretary, Chris Grayling.

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