MP plotting changes to libel laws Sir Edward Garnier earns thousands as a libel lawyer
A senior Conservative MP, who opposes plans to prevent firms from suing unless they have suffered significant financial losses, earns thousands of pounds as a defamation barrister on top of his parliamentary salary.
Sir Edward Garnier, who was a minister until September, said last week that he was seeking to amend the Defamation Bill to scrap a clause that would have made it harder for companies to sue. At the same time, the MP for Harborough declares on the Commons register of interests that, since stepping down as a minister, he has received £37,000 from legal work as a senior QC – including from defamation cases. He is currently representing Lord McAlpine in his defamation case against Sally Bercow, the wife of the Commons Speaker.
While Sir Edward, 60, has acted within parliamentary rules and declared his financial interest as a libel lawyer, it has led some to question that the outside earnings of MPs could potentially compromise their views inside Parliament.
The Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Jon Trickett, said: “While Sir Edward was entirely within his rights to table these amendments, and has properly declared his interests, Parliament does need to look again at apparent conflicts of interests, even when these are declared.”
Sir Edward said his suggested changes to the Bill would not “make any difference” to whether he was instructed as a defamation barrister, and it was vital that MPs with specialist knowledge could speak out. “The whole point about Parliament is to debate policy ideas and law,” he said. “If every time someone stands up to debate something they are accused of being ill-motivated, out to feather their own nest or misconducting themselves, then we are not going to get anywhere.”
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£24000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...
Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Whats the opportunity? A pro-act...
Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Whats the opportunity? The small...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...