BORIS Johnson has proposed banning MPs from acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists as he tries to stem the tide of sleaze allegations engulfing is Tory party.

The Prime Minister also called for the House of Commons code of conduct to be updated and for MPs who fail to focus on their constituents to be “investigated and appropriately punished”.

The SNP has criticised the PM’s “shoddy, half-baked proposals”, adding that “they wouldn't begin to scratch the surface of dealing with the huge problem of Tory sleaze, cronyism and corruption that has engulfed Westminster”.

Mr Johnson outlined the plans as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was due to detail his bid to force a potentially damaging vote for the Government on taking action to tackle sleaze.


Sir Keir said Mr Johnson had been “dragged kicking and screaming” to his new position.

He said: “We’ve had two weeks of Tory sleaze and corruption. Be under no illusion, the Prime Minister has only done this because his back was against the wall because the Labour Party have put down a binding vote for tomorrow.

“This is a significant victory for the Labour Party, it would not have happened if we hadn’t put down that binding vote. This is a Prime Minister who has shown no leadership on this whatsoever.

“It is a step forward for standards in public life.”

The Labour leader said Mr Johnson had “caved in” adding that he wanted the Prime Minister to ensure Tory MPs voted for the new measures on Wednesday.

“I have read through his letter, it is very obviously a concession to our vote tomorrow, it’s in exactly the same terms as the binding vote tomorrow. This is a Prime Minister that has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to do anything on standards in public life.”


Detailing his plans in a letter to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Prime Minister said they would ensure MPs who are “neglecting their duties to their constituents and prioritising outside interests would be investigated, and appropriately punished by the existing disciplinary authorities”.

“They would also ban MPs from exploiting their positions by acting as paid political consultants or lobbyists,” Mr Johnson added.

The move is an attempt to draw a line under the damaging saga that began with Mr Johnson’s bid to overhaul the disciplinary system to prevent the immediate suspension of Tory MP Owen Paterson.

The Prime Minister was forced to U-turn on that plan and the Conservative former minister resigned as the MP for North Shropshire as a vote was rescheduled to ban him from the Commons for six weeks for breaching lobbying rules.

Mr Johnson’s latest plans came a day ahead of Labour staging a vote to ban MPs from taking paid consultancies or directorships during an opposition day debate on Wednesday.

The Government and Conservative backbenchers would have found themselves in the difficult position of having to either back Labour’s plans or face allegations they were not stamping out sleaze.

SNP Westminster deputy leader, Kirsten Oswald, said: "The Tory corruption scandal has demonstrated that the broken Westminster system needs a complete overhaul and wholesale reform.

"Boris Johnson has published these shoddy, half-baked proposals to distract media scrutiny from his government - but the reality is they wouldn't begin to scratch the surface of dealing with the huge problem of Tory sleaze, cronyism and corruption that has engulfed Westminster.”

She added: "These minor adjustments would do nothing to end the corrupt practice of parties handing peerages to millionaire donors. They wouldn't stop Boris Johnson breaking the ministerial code and letting himself off the hook.

"They wouldn't prevent the Prime Minister soliciting dodgy donations for luxury holidays and home refurbishments. They wouldn't stop Tory ministers giving special access, contracts, tax breaks and government jobs to their friends. And they wouldn't even ensure Tory MPs treat their roles as a full time job.

"People in Scotland are looking on in horror at what is going on in Westminster. The best future for Scotland is to become an independent country and escape Westminster for good."