Ian Hislop: ‘Public are sick of being taken for fools’
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Journalist Ian Hislop called out MPs who have second jobs with vested interests in the companies they lobby for. Mr Hislop comments were made after some MPs have become entangled in scandals to do with their second jobs outside of Parliament. A recent scandal involving MP Owen Paterson has caused major backlash from the British public due to the fact that he was found to of lobbied for two companies who paid him more than £100,000 per year. Mr Hislop slammed the actions of MP Owen Paterson, who has since resigned following the scandal.
Mr Hislop said: “We’ve given evidence before about exactly this, and presented evidence about people who have had jobs in specific areas and then gone on to work with companies who benefit from Government contracts.
“I mean there’s absolutely loads of it, and I will say the same thing is, what do you think these companies are paying the money for?
“You think they’re chucking it away, and when these politicians declare their interests, I mean why do they think these businesses are paying them this money?
“Why did Owen Paterson think he was being given all this money? What because he’s so brilliant?
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Mr Hislop said: “I mean it, again I think the public is very sick of being taken for fools at the moment on all sorts of levels.
“And it’s very sick of being taken for fools on this level.
“If you’re taking money from a company, what are they getting out of it?
“Which is why the earlier answers from both my colleagues was, at least print the contract, tell us what you’re being employed for.
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Mr Hislop added: “And let’s have a look at the minutes at the board meeting, what did you say?
“In this specific area, say you’re employed as Solomon always says, to sell guns or bombs or weapons and then you have a board meeting.
“If you won’t tell us what you said in the meeting don’t take the job.”
Journalists also spoke at the committee to address the lack of honesty from MPs who have second jobs outside their duties at Parliament.
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Journalist at Private Eye, Richard Brooks said: “By restricting what you band to lobbying, you narrow it down too much because lobbying is open to a very legalistic technocratic interpretation that doesn’t include all kinds of behaviour, a quiet word in the ear, expressions of opinion without formally lobbying all those sorts of things that are just as important.
“The problem is that a lot of what goes on that distorts public decision-making doesn’t qualify as lobbying and I think you perhaps need to look a little bit further and say ‘OK, what sort of jobs do we need to ban.
Mr Brooks was asked by a member of the committee what types of second jobs should not be allowed to be held by Parliamentary MPs.
Mr Brooks said: “Any job that is given to a member of parliament because they are a member of parliament, rather than because they have some other qualification for it.
“For example, if they’re a doctor, teacher, lawyer, nurse, that sort of thing.”
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