Scottish Labour will move to ban Holyrood politicians from having second jobs in the wake of the Westminster sleaze scandal.
Neil Bibby MSP, backed by his party, plans to revive legislation launched by then MSP Neil Findlay in 2019 to stop politicians from working part-time after being elected.
Despite being backed by 95% of the 500 individuals and organisations who responded to a public consultation, Findlay’s bill was never debated as Covid restrictions cut parliamentary time before May’s Holyrood election.
Findlay called on MSPs to take his bill forward last week after the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal, which has renewed focus on the outside earnings of elected politicians on both sides of the border.
Twenty of Scotland’s 59 MPs earned up to £23,000 on top of their £82,000 parliamentary salary last year. Now Bibby, Labour MSP for West Scotland region, has promised to bring forward a bill to stop MSPs having second jobs. He said recent revelations about sleaze in politics meant urgent action was needed.
Bibby, who hopes to have legislation in place within eight months, said he hopes other parties will support it, adding: “We need to have a serious discussion over the priorities of some of our elected representatives.
“The role of MSPs should be to fully focus on their constituents and the practice of working second jobs should be banned. In the absence of leadership from the Scottish Government, Labour will bring forward a bill to change the law.
“There needs to be some exemptions, particularly for those MSPs who require to continue employment to maintain registration, such as medical professionals. But, in general, this bill will sound the death knell for second jobs.”
Standards investigators found Paterson had abused his position by lobbying officials on behalf of two private companies without acknowledging they were paying him £9,000 a month.
He quit as an MP after a U-turn by the UK Government on a bid to halt his suspension and overhaul how allegations against MPs were investigated. Boris Johnson last week admitted “crashing the car” over the issue.
It also emerged former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox earned up to £6 million as a barrister, working more than 10,000 hours while serving as a Conservative MP. He earned more than £800,000 advising the British Virgin Islands in a corruption probe launched by the Foreign Office.
Last week, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, a list MSP for the Highlands and Islands, MP for Moray and a professional football referee, reported himself to the standards commissioner for failing to declare some of his earning. He apologised for failing to fully record his MSP salary and earnings as a football referee in his register of interests at Westminster.
He said he donates his £21,000 MSP salary to charity so had not thought to declare the money along with £6,700 for working for the Scottish Football Association.
MSPs with second incomes include Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Sir Edward Mountain, who receives £35,000-£40,000 a year for overseeing his farming business. He also received £10,000 income in 2017 from his road and line salmon fishing business.
Fellow Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Donald Cameron is a non-executive director of Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust, receiving £25,000-£30,000 a year.
Aberdeenshire West Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett earns over £170,000 a year from his north-east estate and £20,000-£25,000 from a property company.
There are also 17 MSPs who work as councillors, roles they had before being elected to Holyrood. Ten are donating their council salary to charity.
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