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16th Nov 2021

Starmer admits proposed Labour ban on second jobs would outlaw the sort of work he undertook as an MP

Ava Evans

Starmer’s side-hustle that earned him £100,000 in legal fees would be prohibited under new Labour plans to ban second jobs

Labour have today announced a ban on all second jobs for MPs, with limited exceptions.

However, Starmer’s big proposal, a ban on MPs holding paid consultancies which is set to be debated tomorrow in the House of Commons saw its thunder stolen by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced he had written to the Speaker of the House at exactly the same time.

The unfortunate timing meant Starmer was forced to deliver a press conference speech that largely echoed the Prime Minister’s policy.

The Labour leader was unaware the announcement had been undermined by the Tories.

Starmer joked: “We’ve already won the vote!”

Asked if his own legal advice would be permitted under the proposed ban, Starmer was forced to admit the second job he did as a lawyer while working as an MP would not be allowed.

Why didn’t Labour propose this last week?

The policy is a substantial u-turn for Labour.

When the sleaze scandal first erupted, PoliticsJOE reported that Starmer was unable to pledge a total ban on second jobs, fearing his own dabbling would come to light.

Starmer, who registered £17,598.60 in August 2021 for 70 hours of legal advice, as well as a further £8k in December 2020, pulled out of announcing a policy to scrap second jobs – the night before it was due to be announced.

Is it a damp squib?

Labour aren’t planning to outlaw second jobs with immediate effect. Rather, they will ban prospective MPs from taking secondary roles.

Meaning – current MPs with second jobs won’t have to give up their side-earnings.

Many have registered side-hustles over the past few years, including some on the current front bench – and Starmer doesn’t seem prepared to ring round the shadow cabinet and ask them to give up their second income.

Asked if he would tell Labour MPs to relinquish second jobs on a purely moral basis, Starmer said he would await for the policy to be in law.

So, no.

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