Tory MP voted in parliament while doing £1m second job from Caribbean island tax haven

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab says work was ‘legitimate’

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Tuesday 09 November 2021 10:12 GMT
Geoffrey Cox the former Attorney General, arrives at Downing Street
Geoffrey Cox the former Attorney General, arrives at Downing Street (Getty Images)

A Conservative MP took part in parliamentary votes while doing another job from a Caribbean island tax haven, it has been reported.

Geoffrey Cox, the government's former attorney general, is thought to have earned nearly £1 million from his second job in the British Virgin Islands.

The Daily Mail reports that Sir Geoffrey, who has not commented on the reports, cast his votes in parliament by proxy while working 4,000 miles away in warmer climes.

The QC earned £900,000 in the past year working for law firm Withers, representing the tax haven's government in an inquiry into governance and possible corruption.

He also earned around £130,000 from other legal work on top of his £82,000 MPs' salary.

The MP is understood to have spent some of April and May in the tropical region – with his register of interests showing that he earned £156,916.08 for 140 hours' work between April 29 and May 31.

He reportedly arrived in the Caribbean on April 26 - the same day as the Commons held a debate on global corruption.

A press release on the BVI government website for that day says Sir Geoffrey was "currently in quarantine" but "intends to hold a series of meetings with government ministers in the next few weeks".

Conservative deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, who is also in charge of Justice, said Sir Geoffrey's actions were "legitimate thing to do as long as it is properly declared".

Dominic Raab, who set up the inquiry Sir Geoffrey is representing the BVI in, said: "I think it's first of all important to say that all of... any outside interests have to be properly declared.

"In relation to the British Virgin Islands, I was the foreign secretary that commissioned a commission of inquiry, given the allegations of misgovernance and very serious ones, including criminal wrongdoing.

"Now, I'm not going to get dragged into what individual MPs do, but actually having the former attorney general - and it wasn't my decision, he was hired by the government of the BVI to advise them on how to correct and deal and address those allegations - actually, is a legitimate thing to do as long as it's properly declared.

"And of course, it's quite important in that Parliament, which is responsible residually for some areas of our relationship with the overseas territories, we've got some knowledge of what's going on in those territories."

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