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Background and Scope of the Review
In its 2009 report on MPs’ Expenses and Allowances, the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life recommended that:
MPs should not be prohibited from paid employment such as journalism outside the House, providing any such activity remains in reasonable limits. But it should be transparent and information about it should be drawn to voters’ attention at election time.
This recommendation aimed to strike a balance between MPs’ work as an elected Member of Parliament, and outside paid employment and professional interests. At the time the Committee considered that outside paid employment should not be banned, provided it was kept within fairly limited bounds and there was transparency about it.
The Committee has decided to conduct a short review to see the extent to which the compromise we recommended in 2009 has been put into operation, and if there is a need to explore further and to elaborate what is meant by ‘reasonable limits’.
The Committee on Standards in Public Life does not have a remit to address any individual cases, and as such will only be considering submissions on the subject of rules and guidance surrounding MPs’ outside interests more broadly.
We welcome contributions from those interested in this issue. The review will be open until 5pm on Wednesday 13 September.
Terms of Reference
The Committee invites comment on four key themes:
- What factors should be taken into account in determining the ‘reasonable limits’ on MPs’ outside interests?
- How and whether outside interests for MPs could lead to actual or potential conflicts of interest. Does this apply differently for MPs, ministers and ex-ministers, Chairs of Select Committees and other MPs holding parliamentary roles?
- Whether there is sufficient transparency around MPs’ outside interests, and how openness can be promoted.
- Whether there needs to be new rules or guidance on MPs’ outside interests, and how any new arrangements could be implemented.
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