LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not support an outright ban on members of parliament (MPs) having additional jobs, his spokesman said on Tuesday, amid a row over lawmakers taking on often highly lucrative external roles.
The government apologised on Monday for its botched attempt to protect a ruling party lawmaker by changing rules designed to prevent corruption in parliament, a debacle in which Johnson’s integrity has been questioned.
Some critics of the current system have called for lawmakers to be banned from holding external paid roles.
“The prime minister doesn’t back an outright ban on second jobs,” the spokesman said. “An MP’s primary job is and must be to serve their constituents and to represent their interests in parliament.”
The spokesman declined to comment on individual cases, when asked about newspaper reports that Conservative lawmaker Geoffrey Cox took part in votes by proxy from the British Virgin Islands where he was working for a law firm which pays him hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
“They should be visible in their constituency and available to help constituents with their constituency matters. If they are not doing that, then they are not doing their job and will rightly be judged on that by their constituents,” he said.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Michael Holden)