I cannot pretend either last week, the week before or indeed this week have been much fun in Westminster. Some of us try to do the right thing, get all the judgment calls right, and I am not going to claim we all manage it, but most of us try.
I was very clear last week that I simply do not believe MPs should have any part in the standards processes, but newspaper deadlines do not always fall conveniently! I abstained last week because I believe we have an independent commissioner for a reason, and their work should not be interfered with by political influences. Further, House Business is exactly that, House Business, not Government Business, and therefore should not be whipped.
For those who have commenced the debate about whether MPs should have other “interests” I declare I have no other paid income than being an MP. But I am a trustee of an animal welfare charity, and probably dedicate half a day or so a month to that role. I do not know exactly how long because I do not put a stopwatch on it. I declare it in accordance with the rules, but should that also be banned? It is one of those grey areas that people cannot agree on. If unpaid work is ok for a charity, what about for some other organisation? I do think we need someone, perhaps even the Standards Commissioner, to review the rules around outside interests, in the cold light of day and dispassionately. That may not make me popular with some colleagues, but I have no doubt it needs to be done.