Angela Rayner Tears Into Tory Sleaze: ‘Corruption After Corruption’
Angela Rayner has torn into the sleaze allegations swirling around the Conservative Party, describing the scandals as “corruption”.
The deputy leader of the Labour Party said they would ban second jobs for MPs except for in areas such as A&E doctors and set up a commission for “integrity and ethics”.
However, she also faced uncomfortable questions over Labour leader Keir Starmer’s former second job and outside earnings which have come under increased scrutiny in today’s papers.
Rayner told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “What we won’t have is people getting loans like we’ve seen from Jacob Rees-Mogg where he’s got £6 million on really small interest rates, where we’ve seen Grant Shapps, who’s basically been setting up his own lobbyist company within his own department to lobby his own government for his own personal means.
“Sleaze after sleaze, corruption after corruption, we’ve got to end this now because it really undermines public trust and confidence in our government.
“And it was John Major’s government, a Conservative government, that brought in the Nolan Principles and this government is completely undermining them.”
She was also pressed on allegations that Starmer used his Commons office for party political campaigning.
One Sunday newspaper claimed he may have broken the MPs’ code of conduct by using his taxpayer-funded office for ‘Call Keir’ Zoom calls.
EXCL: Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes first Cabinet minister dragged into outside interests row – after not declaring £6m in cheap loans from his Cayman Islands-linked company
In tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday pic.twitter.com/36zyKrIuYT
— Anna Mikhailova (@AVMikhailova) November 13, 2021
But Rayner swerved the question, claiming Boris Johnson had allowed corruption and sleaze to “enter our politics”.
Pressed on whether it was right that Starmer had allegedly earned £100,000 in legal fees since becoming an MP, she said he had given up his practising certificate.
But she avoided approaching the subject head on, referring to the government’s “dodgy contracts” and sleaze that has “undermined our democracy”.
Presenter Andrew Marr pushed her again, saying: “Do you think it was OK for Keir Starmer to stand on a manifesto in 2015 which promised to ban MPs from paid consultancies and then take £9,480 for advising the government of Gibraltar a few months later. Do you think that was alright?”
She replied: “Me and Keir have been absolutely crystal clear on this and our manifesto has been consistently clear on this since 2015 that we would ban paid consultancy and directorships and lobbyists because this is what’s really undermining our country at the moment.”
Marr put the screws on, saying: “I’m just asking you again. Why was it alright for Keir Starmer to take that money from the government of Gibraltar then?”
Rayner replied: “Keir Starmer has been very clear second jobs – we do not accept that, we don’t accept paid consultancy. Keir Starmer as the prime minister will bring forward legislation to clean up the act…”
During another exchange over travel, Rayner claimed Starmer never used domestic flights.
However, Starmer shared a video of himself in April this year flying from London to Edinburgh to film a campaign advert for the local elections.
Scottish Labour’s national recovery plan is so important because it puts Scotland’s recovery above all else.
We must focus on what unites us, not what divides us. pic.twitter.com/4MFp0pYH3x
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) April 18, 2021
Asked if a Labour prime minister would commit to never use domestic flights and private planes, Rayner replied: “Keir doesn’t use domestic flights, Keir always travels as green as we possibly can…it was actually significantly cheaper to go in a domestic flight [to Glasgow] than it was to use the train, so we need to invest in our public transport services.”
Starmer was criticised by environmental activists at the time as they pointed out he could have taken the train instead to reduce his carbon footprint.
It comes as a spotlight was shone on the actions of the transport secretary Grant Shapps and leader of the house of commons Jacob Rees-Mogg today.
The Sunday Times unveiled allegations that plane enthusiast Shapps had effectively lobbied against his own government.
According to the claims, he spent public money on lobbying to oppose the government’s plans to build on private runways. A Department for Transport spokesperson said it was “right” he promoted all aspects of the department’s brief including the general aviation sector.
Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday reported claims that Rees-Mogg may have breached parliamentary rules by not declaring £6 million in personal loans from his Cayman Islands-linked company.
He apparently borrowed up to £2.94 million a year in ‘director’s loans’ from his UK-based Saliston Ltd between 2018 and 2020. Rees-Mogg said the company was 100 per cent owned by him, declared clearly in the Commons register and to the Cabinet Office. “It has no activities that interact with Government policy,” he added.