Sir Jeffrey Cox He has secured at least £6m from his second job since entering Parliament, an analysis by The Guardian has revealed, and records show he has recently crossed 12 votes in the days when he was on paid legal work.
The revelation came Boris JohnsonThe Prime Minister has taken the unusual step of seeking to reassure the public that the UK is “not a remotely corrupt country” as the Conservative Party continued to indulge in a plethora of insulting allegations.
Johnson has not clearly defended the fire-fighting Cox, whose earnings since becoming a Conservative MP in 2005 have come under intense scrutiny in recent days after revelations he had spent a month in Parliament. British Virgin Islands This year doing legal paid work.
Further questions are likely to arise about Cox’s commitment to his job as an MP after the Guardian also discovered he had skipped at least 12 parliamentary votes in four days when he appeared via video link at a BVI authorities hearing this fall.
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Johnson stressed that MPs must always put the interests of their constituents first, and avoid pressure driven.
Johnson added: “The rules say … you must put your job as MP first and you must devote yourself first and foremost to your voters and the people who send you to Westminster, to Parliament. The most important thing is that those who break the rules must be investigated. They must be punished.”
He was speaking a week after flogging Conservative MPs to support an amendment that sought to avoid penalizing Owen Patterson – a former cabinet minister who was found to have repeatedly engaged in paid lobbyists – by tearing up the parliamentary standards system.
Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, condemned Johnson’s failure to say sorry for Patterson’s fiasco. “Boris Johnson’s refusal to apologize proves he has no interest in tackling the corruption that has engulfed Downing Street, his government and the Conservative Party,” she said. “He thinks it’s a rule for him and another rule for everyone else.”
Johnson, speaking in Glasgow, where he was on a short visit to the COP26 climate negotiations, said there should be “appropriate sanctions”, for MPs who “do not put the interests of their constituents first”.
Cox, the former attorney general, originally came under scrutiny when the Daily Mail reported that he was voting by proxy from the BVI where he had been working during part of the pandemic, representing BVI authorities in an investigation into corruption allegations ordered by the Foreign Office. Desk.
He now faces questions about his behavior after MPs were forced to vote in person again after June, including whether he prioritized his legal, paid appearance over attending parliamentary proceedings.
Cox has been contacted to comment on whether the party allows any absence to do paid work.
A Home Office insider who worked with Cox defended his continued work as a lawyer, saying for most MPs the role in Parliament “makes them money” but “loses him money”.
Just last month, Cox missed eight votes on the environment law, one on the Workers’ Re-employment Bill, and one on the recommendations of the 2015 Independent Expert Panel on Sanctions and MEPs.
Nor was he present at the Labor Day debate on shrinking living standards in September, and the one on small businesses in October. On all dates – October 22, 20, 19 and September 21 – he was appearing at the public inquiry, according to videos on the BVI commission’s website. It is not clear from the background of his video where Cox has been on these occasions.
On a fifth occasion, on September 14, Cox appeared to be present in a parliamentary office while he was videotaping the investigation, leading to a complaint that he had violated rules prohibiting MPs from using commons facilities on private business.
In his first public comments on the case on Wednesday, Cox did not deny that he used his parliamentary office for paid work. He insisted that he “works regularly for 70 hours a week and always ensures that primary importance is given to his study on behalf of his constituents and carried out fully”.
A statement said: “As for the allegation that he breached the Parliamentary Code of Conduct once, on September 14, 2021, by being in his office while participating in an online hearing in the public inquiry and voting in board of the PublicHe understands that the matter has been referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner and will cooperate fully with its investigation. He does not believe he has broken the rules, but will of course accept the ruling of the Parliamentary Commissioner or the commission on the matter.”
The Whips office believes Cox was already eligible for a proxy vote earlier in the year and that Whip’s boss, Mark Spencer, was previously told he would be working on a big issue overseas.
However, the source insisted that it is not right for the government to necessarily approve of his whereabouts and what he does. “It is not our place to sanction members of Parliament’s locations and travel plans, even if he is commuting to them from a nice sunny island.”
Some Conservative MPs are angry at what they see as freedoms taken up by the “old guard,” Cox included. One predicted that there would be a “big problem” with the Whips Office given the level of resentment, saying, “We’re headed toward a civil war.”
A spokesperson for Whip Speaker said: “About 330 Conservative MPs, and a majority of opposition MPs… were given proxy votes in order to help tackle the pandemic at a time when parliamentary authorities were discouraging actual attendance in the House of Commons. It was expected that all MPs would follow the proceedings and participate They were also expected to continue to perform their primary mission of serving their constituents.”
BVI investigation videos show that Cox made arguments against the “open records” of politicians’ interests in the public inquiry in June.
He told the inquiry: “Let me be frank. There are real flaws in opening records. It becomes a political tool for every … many petty complaints are made. It is a profound invasion of the private life of a legislator, because what happens is, as you can imagine, the writing of stories, Petty infractions are written to be morally shameful or even attributable to dishonesty.”
Cox is also facing a conflict of interest claim after it emerged that he had Lobby against imposing stricter financial regulations on the Cayman Islands A few months later, he acquired more than £40,000 from law firms located in the tax haven.
On Wednesday, Cox’s whereabouts remained a mystery, despite his statement. Staff in the MP’s office refused to answer questions about his whereabouts, or even whether he was in the UK.
Officials from the British Virgin Islands Commission of Inquiry, in which Cox represents some government ministers over corruption allegations, said they did not know if or when he would return to the Caribbean.
In his most recent investigative role, from October 19 to 22, Cox appeared in hearings for nearly 30 hours in total. While listed on the official transcript as being there in person, Cox has been shown in the linked video footage ostensibly, but with a blurred background, meaning it’s hard to tell where he is. An official from the investigation said he was visible from afar.