Tory MP who backed £20 Universal Credit cut says some MPs need second jobs to support their lifestyle

A Conservative MP who spoke out in favour of scrapping the £20 Universal Credit cut has urged caution over changing the rules around second jobs for MPs.

Andrew Rosindell, who represents Romford, east London, described himself as "very cautious" about banning second jobs because it would mean significant lifestyle changes for some MPs.

"I'm very cautious on this because I know that some of my colleagues have jobs outside work that they do and that means them having to give up — changing their lifestyle. We have to be careful about this," he said.

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His comments came as Boris Johnson tries to address what is become an increasingly toxic issue around MPs' standards.

On Tuesday, the prime minister announced he intends to introduce stricter rules to stop MPs exploiting their position by acting as paid political consultants

The majority of MPs making lucrative earnings alongside their £82,000 salary for serving in parliament are in the Conservative Party, where there is believed to be widespread disquiet at the PM's plans.

Rosindell added: "We have to realise that we're dealing with human beings who have families and responsibilities.

"Whilst, as I've said before, the first duty must be to parliament, to constituency, and to the work we do for our country - any changes, I think, should be evolutionary."

However, Rosindell has laid himself open to accusations of hypocrisy following critical comments he made about plans to axe the £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit.

"I think there are people that quite like getting the extra £20 [a week in Universal Credit] but maybe they don’t need it," he told the BBC in July.

Activists have warned that up to 800,000 people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the cut, as well as having to choose between "heating and eating" amid soaring fuel costs.

andrew rosindell
Andrew Rosindell suggested there were people that received the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift that just enjoyed having more money. (BBC)

Rosindell abstained on a non-binding vote around the Universal Credit changes, which passed with 253 votes to 0, with four Tory MPs rebelling and voting with Labour on the issue to halt the cuts.

Rosindell isn't alone in his concerns over clamping down on lucrative second jobs.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan demonstrated some hesitancy on the issue on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning suggesting Sir Geoffrey Cox — who is at the centre of the row — may not have to reduce his lucrative legal work under new rules to tackle sleaze.

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“The key is, is he doing a good job for his constituents?" she said. "Do they think he’s doing a good job for them?

"And, from what I’ve heard, no-one has stood up and said otherwise."

She went on to compare Cox earning more than £1m in the last year working as a lawyer — which included work advising the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven accused of corruption by the British government — to an MP working as a nurse.

“That he continues to practise what is his professional skill while he is a backbench MP, for me, is perfectly acceptable because in the same way that Maria Caulfield serves in the NHS as a nurse continues to practise her profession alongside serving her constituents is, I think, important for the NHS.”

Watch: MPs should be able to have second jobs, says minister