LETTER:Financial disclosure of MPs' 'consultancies'

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ernest Wood

Sir: Conservative MPs say that, as we have no right to know what our neighbour earns, we should not expect to know what our MPs get either. But MPs are the servants of their constituents, who pay their salaries, and the constituents have every right - perhaps even an obligation - to know what their parliamentary representatives are getting on the side for doing things that have nothing to do with their constituency duties, but everything to do with their MP's personal advantage and that of the businesses who are paying them. If Conservatives are in Parliament to enrich themselves financially, then the voters have a right to know whether they are getting a few pounds for their trouble or thousands of pounds for selling themselves.

The claim that everything is changed because advocacy is being banned just will not do. Giving advice instead of advocacy is splitting hairs. It is influence the MPs are really selling and that will be unchanged.

I do not think 100 Conservative MPs will need to resign if financial disclosure becomes mandatory. The voters will throw them out at the next general election for devoting themselves to paid outside interests, the fruits of which they tried to keep secret.

Yours truly

Ernest Wood

Okehampton, Devon

2 November

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