Nicola Sturgeon seizes on Tory sleaze crisis amid independence drive

Nicola Sturgeon seizes on Tory sleaze crisis as she pushes Scots independence case slamming ‘corruption at the heart of the Westminster system

  • Nicola Sturgeon waded into Tory sleaze row lashing ‘corruption at Westminster
  • Rishi Sunak has admitted that the government ‘needs to do betteron sleaze
  • Tories facing more damaging allegations in the wake of Owen Paterson row
  • Nicola Storione gleefully seized on the sleaze chaos today to further her Scottish independence drive.

    The SNP leader lashed out at a ‘sense of corruption at the heart of the Westminster system’ come Boris Johnson struggled to contain the fallout.

    The intervention came as Cabinet tensions broke into the open, con Rishi Sunak warning the PM that the government ‘needs to do betterfollowing the aborted bid to save ex-minister Owen Paterson from punishment for lobbying.

    Speaking to journalists at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon insisted the ensuing barrage of allegations had ‘shone a light, and perhaps this is a good thing, on some of the other issues that need to be resolved around politics, and Westminster politics in particular’.

    ‘There is a real concernI certainly don’t use this word lightlyabout a sense of corruption at the heart of the Westminster system, and that has to be rooted out,’ lei ha aggiunto.

    The incendiary comments are bound to infuriate the government and unionists.

    Ms Sturgeon has already sparked anger that she is exploiting the COP summit for her separatist purposes, taking out a series of high-profile adverts describing Scotland as a ‘nation in waiting’.

    Boris Johnson

    Nicola Storione

    Nicola Storione (giusto) lashed out at a ‘sense of corruption at the heart of the Westminster system’ nel ruolo di Boris Johnson (sinistra) struggled to contain the fallout

    The damage from the sleaze rows was underlined by a poll showing that the Conservatives have slumped behind Labour for the first time in a year

    The damage from the sleaze rows was underlined by a poll showing that the Conservatives have slumped behind Labour for the first time in a year

    Standards chief calls for action on MPssecond jobs and ministers’ interessi

    The head of a sleaze watchdog today heaped pressure on Boris Johnson to bolster rules on MPsoutside interests.

    Lord Evans, former head of MI5 and now chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, also delivered a thinly-veiled rebuke to politicians who are more focused on second jobs than Commons duties.

    The peer’s committee has called for changes including more transparency around lobbying and stronger oversight of ministerial behaviour.

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about his committee’s 2018 recommendations on MPsexternal work, the peer said: ‘We said that the critical thing was that nothing that an MP does should get in the way of their ability to work in support of their constituents – so the amount of work they do, the sort of work, needs to be judged against that.

    ‘If somebody is spending a huge amount of their time on a second job, then they can’t be maintaining support for their constituents.

    Asked whether it matters more about how much time an MP spends on their outside work rather than how much they are earning, Lord Evans replied: ‘I don’t think it is ultimately a matter of how much, I think it is a matter of is it clear that the MP who has been elected by their constituents, that their main focus, their main priority is on being the best MP that they can be?

    ‘And that takes time and that takes concentration.

    Annuncio pubblicitario

    The barb came as Mr Johnson gathered his senior team in Downing Street to take stock of the crisis amid persistent rumours of friction with Mr Sunakwho notably did not vote on the key amendment last week.

    Nel frattempo, the stakes in the discussions were underlined by a poll showing that the Conservatives have slumped behind Labour for the first time in a year.

    Despite increasing alarm on the Tory benches, the PM again stubbornly refused to apologise for triggering the sleaze meltdown as he was grilled during a press conference at the COP26 summit in Glasgow la notte scorsa.

    The Cabinet ostensibly focused on the Levelling Up agenda, with ministers laying out how their department is contributing to the drive. Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey arrived armed with an A3 map seemingly to help get her message across.

    però, the hot topic was expected to be how to quell the rising tide of criticism about second jobs, conflicting interests and cronyism among MPs.

    In an interview with Sky News this morning after new GDP figures were released, Mr Sunak struck a starkly different tone to the premier, saying he was ‘reflecting on recent events’.

    ‘People will have different motivations for doing what they do, the pay is set by an independent body, that’s absolutely right,’ Egli ha detto.

    ‘And with regard to second jobs, there’s an independent process that we have that’s set by Parliament that governs all of those things. And it’s absolutely right that that process is followed to the letter.

    ‘Now look, on the broader point – and reflecting over recent events – I think for us as a Government, it’s fair to say that we need to do better than we did last week, and we know that.

    Unlike Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak has not declared any extra earnings since becoming an MP in 2015. He is reputed to be one of the richest MPs in the Commons, partly due to his previous career in the city but also due to the multi-billion wealth of his wife’s family.

    The Tory misery showed no sign of easing today, with more allegations against MPs and growing signs of infighting.

    A poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found the Tories have dropped one point since Monday to 36 per cento.

    At the same time Labour was up two on 38 per cento.

    It is the first time the firm has shown a lead for the Opposition since November last year.








    Rishi Sunak risked inflaming internal tensions over the wave of allegations that followed the aborted bid to save ex-minister Owen Paterson from punishment for lobbying

    Rishi Sunak risked inflaming internal tensions over the wave of allegations that followed the aborted bid to save ex-minister Owen Paterson from punishment for lobbying

    Boris Johnson (pictured observing a silence on Remembrance Day today) has been struggling to contain rising alarm over sleaze allegations

    Boris Johnson (pictured observing a silence on Remembrance Day today) has been struggling to contain rising alarm over sleaze allegations

    Scottish Secretary Alister Jack (sinistra) and Housing Secretary Michael Gove in Downing St today

    Scottish Secretary Alister Jack (sinistra) and Housing Secretary Michael Gove in Downing St today

    Relations between No10 and No11 have been prickly for a while, with suspicion that Mr Sunak is on manoeuvres with his glossy PR output.

    One flashpoint came when the PM unveiled his strategy for decarbonising Britain by 2050.

    The Treasury released a stark assessment alongside the plan warning that the government cannot borrow to fund the costs of the transition.

    It cautioned that tax rises would be needed to underwrite state investmentand that a way will have to be found to fill the black hole left as £37billion of revenue from fuel duty disappears.

    The message contrasted sharply with the PM’s bullish comments that there will be no need for ‘hair shirtmeasures.

    There were also reports the Treasury assessment had been ‘scrubbedto remove the most alarming predictionsand originally was even tougher.

    It was the latest sign of tensions between the Chancellor and Mr Johnson over the government financesalthough the premier appeared to come out on top with the Budget last month splashing the cash.

    Former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is facing fresh questions after it emerged he took out a £3,900 loan from the taxpayer to cover the deposit on renting a Londra piatto – at the same time as renting out his own property in the capital.

    Nel 2017 the Torridge & West Devon MP moved out of his own property in London, and started claiming around £1,900 a month on expenses for another flat in the capital.

    The arrangement does not break any rules, but Sir Geoffrey is reported to be renting his Battersea property out for around £1,000 a week.

    MailOnline can also reveal that Sir Geoffrey received a £3,900 loan from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) nel 2017 to pay the deposit on his new accommodation.

    Ancora, there is no suggestion rules were breached, but the manoeuvre came as Sir Geoffrey was pocketing huge sums from his legal practice. He has earned more than £5million since becoming an MP in 2005.

    Lord Evans, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said that if an MP is spending a ‘huge amount of timeon a second job, they will not be able to fulfil their duties to constituents.

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about his committee’s 2018 recommendations on MPsexternal work, the peer said: ‘We said that the critical thing was that nothing that an MP does should get in the way of their ability to work in support of their constituents – so the amount of work they do, the sort of work, needs to be judged against that.

    ‘If somebody is spending a huge amount of their time on a second job, then they can’t be maintaining support for their constituents.

    Asked whether it matters more about how much time an MP spends on their outside work rather than how much they are earning, Lord Evans replied: ‘I don’t think it is ultimately a matter of how much, I think it is a matter of is it clear that the MP who has been elected by their constituents, that their main focus, their main priority is on being the best MP that they can be?

    ‘And that takes time and that takes concentration.

    At the press conference last night, An awkward-looking Mr Johnson insisted MPssecond jobs ‘strengthen democracysaying that for ‘hundreds of yearspoliticians had been able to do outside work.

    But he swiped at Sir Geoffrey, who has been criticised for his £1million-a-year legal sideline, saying they ‘must put your job as an MP first’, as well as stressing that paid lobbying is never acceptable.

    On a stage where he had hoped to keep media focus on plans to limit climate change he was forced to defend Britain’s political system, detto: ‘I genuinely believe that the UK is not remotely a corrupt country, nor do I believe that our institutions are corrupt.

    And Mr Johnson seemed in a hurry to escape, bringing the proceedings to an abrupt halt as he looked as his watch and said he needed to go and catch ‘climate-friendly transport’ – the trainback to London.

    Sir Geoffrey Cox has been referred to the Commons standards tsar over claims he broke Commons rules by using his parliamentary office to offer legal advice to the British Virgin Islands

    Sir Geoffrey Cox has been referred to the Commons standards tsar over claims he broke Commons rules by using his parliamentary office to offer legal advice to the British Virgin Islands

    Geoffrey Cox got £3,900 taxpayer loan for deposit to rent London flatas he rented out his own property in the capital

    Geoffrey Cox is facing fresh questions today after it emerged he took out a £3,900 loan from the taxpayer to cover the deposit on renting a Londra piatto – at the same time as renting out his own property in the capital.

    The former Attorney General is under more pressure over his accommodation arrangements, after sounding defiance over earning millions of pounds from his legal ‘sideline’.

    Nel 2017 the Torridge & West Devon MP moved out of his own property in London, and started claiming around £1,900 a month on expenses for another flat in the capital.

    The arrangement does not break any rules, but Sir Geoffrey is reported to be renting his Battersea property out for around £1,000 a week.

    MailOnline can also reveal that Sir Geoffrey received a £3,900 loan from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) nel 2017 to pay the deposit on his new accommodation.

    Ancora, there is no suggestion rules were breached, but the manoeuvre came as Sir Geoffrey was pocketing huge sums from his legal practice. He has earned more than £5million since becoming an MP in 2005.

    The eminent QC is also likely to have received a deposit from the tenants of his Battersea property. The accommodation loan from Ipsa will be due for repayment when the MP ends his rental agreement.

    Sir Geoffrey did not respond to a request for comment this morning. There are claims he has been in Mauritius while the furore has been unfolding.

    però, he issued a bullish statement defending his outside earnings yesterday.

    Annuncio pubblicitario

    The premier had made a dash to Scotland in a bid to reinvigorate the UN summit negotiations over a deal to tackle climate change, but found himself taken to task over the sleaze crisis.

    ‘On second jobs, I would say that for hundreds of years MPs have gone to Parliament and also done work as doctors, lawyers or soldiers or firefighters or writers, or all sorts of other trades and callings,’ Egli ha detto.

    ‘And on the whole, the UK population has understood that that has actually strengthened our democracy, because people basically feel that parliamentarians do need to have some experience of the world.

    'Ma, if that system is going to continue today, then it is crucial that MPs follow the rules.

    ‘And the rules say two crucial things: you must put your job as an MP first and you must devote yourself primarily and above all to your constituents and the people who send you to Westminster, to Parliament.

    ‘And they also say that you should not use your position as an MP to lobby or otherwise intervene on behalf of any outside commercial interest. And it is not only that you have to register those interests – you can’t lobby or make representation while an MP on behalf of those interests.

    ‘Those are the rules and they must be enforced and those who don’t obey them should of course face sanctions.

    Sir Geoffrey sounded defiance yesterday after footage emerged appearing to show him representing the British Virgin Islands at a fraud commission by video-link from his Commons office.

    Labour has demanded a standards probe, while ministers have admitted that using parliamentary facilities for work is against the rules. He denies any breach.

    Nel frattempo, Andrew Bowie, tipped as a rising star, has stepped back from his role as a Conservative vice-chair role. He insisted he wants to focus on his Scottish constituency, but has reportedly told friends he is ‘unable to support the governmentin the wake of the Paterson riga.

    Ministers have been desperately trying to pour cold water on the idea of full ban on MPs having second jobs. Health Secretary Sajid Javid suggested some politicians would opt to leave parliament, and stressed that the Commons benefits from people being connected to the outside world.

    Labour has accused Mr Johnson of using the day-trip to Scotland as a ‘distractionfrom the sleaze row. Many had expected him to go towards the end of the week when talks are at a crunch point.

    He has also dropped plans for a Cabinet away-day at Chequers tomorrow and will meet ministers in Downing Street instead.

    I commenti sono chiusi.