The Parallel Works That The Rules Of The British Parliament Allow

A member of parliament and former minister talks to a South Korean consultancy to become a member of its council and thus advise the company on how its clients can influence the British Government. The politician already has several jobs outside of his public office, but is willing to accept another one in exchange for receiving 10,000 pounds a day (11,400 euros). So far nothing new or that skips the rules of the British Parliament. What is different is that it is a company invented by a group of activists.

The BBC returns Gary Lineker to his program, apologizes and promises to review its social media rules

The BBC returns Gary Lineker to his program, apologizes and promises to review its social media rules



Led by Donkeysa donation-funded network dedicated to “art, activism and accountability”, has worked in this case with a group of journalists to pretend to be a Seoul-based company and contact 20 MPs from all parties to offer them money in exchange for consulting work on behalf of private clients who want to approach European politicians to influence regulation and do business.

For British MPs, taking on other jobs is unrestricted in number or amount of money or time, under Parliament’s rules, which hardly imposes certain formal limits, for example declaring these activities and not lobbying directly on behalf of a government abroad or an NGO. Unlike what happens in other parliaments, the activity does not require prior authorization, just register it.

led by donkeys

Led by Donkeys (“led by donkeys”), formed in 2018 by four activists, has been dedicated above all to street actions, such as putting up protest billboards against politicians who broke health rules in the pandemic and projecting messages on public buildings with the lies about Brexit of those who campaigned in favor of it. They also helped paint 150,000 hearts on a makeshift wall on the street to call for an investigation of the management of the pandemic and in tribute to the victims of the coronavirus.

Now the group wanted to do “an experiment” and expose in particular the insouciance of deputies when they accept a job that will distract them from their parliamentary work in the cost of living crisis plan.

In the videos broadcast on their networks with job interviews with the fake company, neither Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson’s former Health Minister, nor Kwasi Kwarteng, Liz Truss’s former Economy Minister, nor Graham Brady, head of the committee that elects the leader tory and dictates the rules of the party, they mention the time they will take away from their work for the citizens they represent. Another Conservative MP, Stephen Hammond, said after the revelation of the cheating that he, although he had not mentioned it in the meeting, he accepted the interview because he is interested in Korea because of its representation of this community in the United Kingdom.

The false company asked to participate in person in at least six meetings in Europe and South Korea.

“I’m flexible,” says Brady in the published video, explaining that he already has other jobs parallel to being a deputy and that he can work for 60,000 pounds a year (68,000 euros) and a special rate of 6,000 pounds a day. Brady says that by Parliament’s rules he can’t approach ministers for favors without saying he’s getting money from that company, but suggests he can advise any client who to talk to in government and how to approach senior government officials. The best way.

Hancock, the former minister who is still a deputy but was removed from other responsibilities in the party after participating in a reality show, is the most firm in the request for money: 10,000 pounds a day. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwarteng seems to get caught up in the figures in the conversation: he suggests £10,000 a month, but when he understands that he’s being offered that amount a day he’s fine with it too. Kwarteng also offers to put the fake company in contact with Boris Johnson, whom he defines as “a great guy.”

During the conversation, Hammond affirms that he does not have a figure in mind, but ends up accepting what his interlocutor proposes, between 12,000 and 15,000 pounds a day.

In some cases, these deputies already have up to three extra jobs in addition to the parliamentarian. All this money is added to the basic salary of British deputies, which is 84,144 pounds (more than 95,000 euros), in addition to the expenses of meals, travel and representation for their professional activities and the management of their office.

The videos published so far by Led By Donkeys are of Conservative MPs, although the organization says it contacted representatives of all parties and ensures that only five agreed to speak with them about the fictitious offer.

It is just a small sample of how a system that has been thoroughly investigated by traditional media for years works, but has changed little.

Boris, May and the others

According to one of the most recent investigations, television Sky News and the reporting and investigative outlet Tortoise, the deputies elected in 2019 have already received at least 17.1 million pounds (19.4 million euros) for their extra work. Most of this money – about 15.2 million pounds (17.3 million euros) – has been received by conservative deputies. Among those who have made the most money with these parallel activities are the former prime ministers and still deputies Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

May, who was forced to resign as prime minister in 2019, has earned more than 2.5 million pounds (2.8 million euros) giving speeches for banks such as JP Morgan and investment funds, among other tasks. In just the six months following her resignation as prime minister in July 2022, Johnson won five million pounds (5.7 million euros) between speeches and donations, such as the one million pounds that a businessman gave him and British Government defense contractor based in Thailand.

Tortoise even has published a search engine so that anyone can know how much money and from whom each deputy has received between donations and parallel jobs.

The leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, who has also received extra lawyer work like other party colleagues, promises that if he achieves a parliamentary majority in the next general elections, he will change the rules to limit the multiple employment of incumbent deputies . He now defends that extra jobs should only be allowed in specific cases, such as doctors and other professions dedicated to essential services.

The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, on the other hand, has no intention of touching the rules and believes that the experience of deputies in parallel jobs can “help them in their work” in Parliament, a spokesman said on Monday.

revolving doors

In addition to moonlighting while in their positions as deputies, ministers and other senior officials are used to later working on matters directly related to their government activity, taking advantage of their contacts in a constant practice of “revolving doors”, as a complaint in a recently published report Transparency International, a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating corruption in the world.

Between 2017 and 2022, for example, 177 former ministers and senior British government officials took up jobs for private portfolio-related companies they had just left. There is already an official commission to control conflicts of interest, but the organization complains that it has no powers “to prevent former ministers and senior officials from cashing in on contacts they made in public service.”

UK have lost seven points in the index this year of Transparency Internationalwhich measures public corruption and business safety, but still ranks higher than countries like France, Austria, Lithuania and Spain.



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