76% of Tory party activists believe that MPs should have outside interests

Tory party activists are out of step with the wider public.

Boris Johnson

Over three quarters of Tory party activists believe MPs should have outside interests, according to a survey carried out by Conservative Home, just weeks after Tory sleaze and corruption scandals.

The staggering findings were published by the right-wing blog today and come at a time when Boris Johnson has seen his lead in the polls fall as well as a dozen Tory MPs sending in letters demanding a leadership contest to oust him after his chaotic handling of the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal. Not only was the prime minister forced to carry out a humiliating U-turn, it also led to increased scrutiny over MPs’ second jobs and conflicts of interests.

76% of respondents to the survey said they believe MPs should have outside interests, while just over 19% said they thought MPs should not have outside interests.

The views of Tory party activists are also out of step with the wider public. According to a poll published by Ipsos MORI earlier this month, around half of Britons disapprove of MPs being paid to do second jobs while they are MPs (52%). Only 1 in 5 (19%) approve.

A poll carried out by LFF last week found that a majority of the public think the government is corrupt. It’s also been revealed that the government had VIP lanes for some companies bidding for contracts due to their political connections. Randox won a Covid testing contract worth £133m just days before government officials confirmed it did not have enough equipment, according to documents. The company has been in the media spotlight after it was revealed Paterson had lobbied on their behalf.

There has also been widespread anger and condemnation over cronyism in the government, especially over the way the government has handed Covid contracts. Transparency International said that one in five government Covid contracts awarded between February and November 2020 contained one or more red flags for possible corruption and require urgent further investigation.

Tory party members however are clearly unconcerned about conflicts of interests arising as a result of MPs’ outside interests.  

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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