Speaker Lindsay Hoyle lays into Boris amid PMQs sleaze row

‘You might be PM but in this House I am in charge’: Speaker Lindsay Hoyle lays into Boris for repeatedly trying to grill Keir Starmer over outside legal work during bruising PMQs row over sleaze

  • Boris Johnson has clashed brutally with Keir Starmer and Speaker Lindsay Hoyle at weekly PMQs session
  • Sir Lindsay rebuked Mr Johnson after repeatedly trying to question Sir Keir over his previous legal work 
  • Labour leader was also rollocked after branding the PM a ‘coward’ during bruising exchanges in the House 
  • The premier is facing showdown with Labour and his own MPs over reforms to MPs’ outside earnings rules 

Boris Johnson was today brutally rebuked by the Speaker as he tried to turn the tables on Keir Starmer during a fiery PMQs sessions.

The premier repeatedly tried to grill the Labour leader over his past legal work as the pair clashed over sleaze at the weekly session. 

But Lindsay Hoyle demanded he stop, insisting it is questions to the Prime Minister rather than to the Opposition leader. ‘You might be the PM of the country but in this House I’m in charge,’ Sir Lindsay said.

Sir Lindsay also warned that the bad-tempered discussion was doing nothing to restore the image of the House after the Owen Paterson debacle earlier this month.  

Mr Johnson is desperately trying to get back on the front foot by pledging to ban politicians from working as consultants on the side – something that could cost dozens of his own backbenchers significant sums.

In a major shift, Mr Johnson also suggested MPs should have limits placed on the time they spend on second jobs.

The dramatic intervention was intended to outflank Labour amid growing alarm that its attacks on the government over sleaze were hitting home.

But it immediately threatened to descend into a shambles, with Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan suggesting that 20 hours on a sideline ‘is fine’.

The weekly Commons exchanges turned nasty after Mr Johnson attempted to question Sir Keir about links with Mishcon de Reya.

Sir Lindsay told Mr Johnson: ‘I don’t want to fall out about it, I’ve made it very clear – it is Prime Minister’s Questions, it’s not for the Opposition to answer your questions.

‘Whether we like it or not those are the rules of the game that we’re all into and we play by the rules, don’t we? And we respect this House, so let’s respect the House.’

After Mr Johnson attempted to ask again about the issue in a later exchange, the Speaker said: ‘Prime Minister, sit down. I’m not going to be challenged, you may be the Prime Minister of this country but in this House I’m in charge.’

Mr Johnson later accused Sir Keir of ‘Mish-conduct’, which prompted calls from the Labour benches for the comment to be withdrawn.

The Speaker said: ‘I don’t think this has done this House any good today. I’ll be quite honest, I think it’s been ill-tempered, I think it shows the public that this House has not learnt from the other week, I need this House to gain respect but it starts by individuals showing respect for each other.’

Despite the rollocking for Mr Johnson, at the end of the session Sir Keir was pulled up for calling the PM a ‘coward’.

Responding to a point of order, Sir Lindsay said the jibe was ‘not the kind of language’ for the Commons. 

Rising to his feet again, Sir Keir said: ‘I withdraw it. But he is no leader.’ 

Boris Johnson (left) repeatedly tried to grill Labour leader Keir Starmer (right) over his past legal work as the pair clashed over sleaze at the weekly session 

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle demanded he stop, insisting it is questions to the Prime Minister rather than to the Opposition leader. ‘You might be the PM of the country but in this House I’m in charge,’ Sir Lindsay said.

The government’s blueprint immediately threatened to descend into a shambles, with Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan suggesting that 20 hours on a sideline ‘is fine’

How do the sleaze reform plans being pushed by the PM and Labour compare? 


Labour’s proposal calls for a ban on ‘any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant’.

Crucially, it also includes provisions requiring the Commons Standards Committee to come forward with proposals to implement the ban and guaranteeing time on the floor of the House for MPs to debate and vote on them.

Although it does not feature in the motion, Keir Starmer has also said he wants to ban almost all second jobs – with only limited exceptions such as doctors and nurses.  


The government is trying to amend the Labour motion to push its own overhaul of the standards system. 

The amendment is more vaguely, describing the consultancy ban as ‘the basis of a viable approach’ and supporting the work of the Standards Committee to update the MPs’ code of conduct.

Boris Johnson has called for a ban on political consultancy work, and says he is going further than Labour with restrictions on outside work that distracts from Commons duties.

However, it is unclear how broad the ban would be, and what would count as excessive outside work.   

Ms Trevelyan said: ‘Let’s say two shifts, that would be 16 hours a week. Are we saying 10 to 20 hours a week outside your work as an MP and a parliamentarian? If that’s what you chose to do as your choice, that’s fine.’ 

Ms Trevelyan also indicated that former attorney general Geoffrey Cox would not have to curb his £1million a year legal practice under the mooted changes – despite No10 claiming he would. 

‘Key is, is he doing a good job for his constituents? Do they think he’s doing a good job for them? And, from what I’ve heard, no-one has stood up and said otherwise,’ she said.

‘But that he continues to practise what is his professional skill while he is a backbench MP, for me, is perfectly acceptable because in the same way that Maria Caulfield serves in the NHS as a nurse continues to practise her profession alongside serving her constituents is, I think, important for the NHS.’

The proposals have teed up a major showdown with some Tory MPs over whether and how the rules at Parliament should be overhauled. There is muttering that many will decline to turn up for crunch votes on the changes due this evening. 

One backbencher told MailOnline that Downing Street had ‘dreamed up’ another disastrous idea that looked clever at first glance but would not stand up to any scrutiny.

‘I think it’s been put together on the back of a fag packet… It’s the same mistake we made over Owen Paterson,’ they said. 

Mr Johnson will run the gauntlet of PMQs, before being grilled by the Liaison Committee and battling Labour in crunch votes on how to reform Commons rules. 

He will also face the backbench 1922 Committee in a bid to repair relations with his MPs. 


Some polls have shown the Opposition taking the lead amid the outcry over Owen Paterson’s lobbying and Geoffrey Cox’s lucrative legal sideline. 

The government wants new rules to introduced in January, assuming an agreement can be reached with Labour. 

But the Opposition has accused the government of ‘dirty tricks’ and trying to water down its rival blueprint.

Ms Trevelyan appeared to get into a muddle during her interviews, initially saying up to 10 hours on a second job was acceptable, before increasing the figure to 15 hours, and then 20 hours. 

‘You do a 40 to 50-hour week, say, as a backbench MP and you do eight to 10 hours work on something else,’ she told Times Radio. ‘For me that would be a perfectly reasonable balance.’ 

On BBC Breakfast the Cabinet minister said: ‘I think there is a common sense test which is if you probably do 40-50 hours a week doing your main job, doing 10 or 15 hours a week doing something else, whatever you choose to do in your spare time, whether that’s paid or not paid, is something that is part of the richness of what you bring as an individual to your role as an MP.’

But later in her round of interviews, Ms Trevelyan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that longer would be reasonable.

Labour’s proposal calls for a ban on ‘any paid work to provide services as a parliamentary strategist, adviser or consultant’.

Crucially, it also includes provisions requiring the Commons Standards Committee to come forward with proposals to implement the ban and guaranteeing time on the floor of the House for MPs to debate and vote on them.

In contrast, the more vaguely worded Government amendment simply describes the consultancy ban as ‘the basis of a viable approach’ and supports the work of the Standards Committee to update the MPs’ code of conduct.

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said it was ‘typical Tory dirty tricks’ and an attempt to water down the proposals. 

The PM’s proposals prompted an immediate backlash from Mr Johnson’s own MPs, who now face losing out on thousands – and in some cases millions – of pounds.

Before Ms Trevelyan’s intervention a Whitehall source claimed the plans were likely to restrict the activities of Sir Geoffrey, who has earned more than £5.5million from his other jobs – including a stint in the British Virgin Islands during lockdown.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the powerful Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, warned of ‘dissatisfaction’ among MPs.

‘Various discussions will be taking place between backbenchers today and the Prime Minister, and I’ve no doubt I will have an opportunity to make my views known,’ he said.

He added: ‘I think I will have more than adequate opportunity to make my views known today.’

He said Mr Johnson ‘wants to get ahead of the curve’ on the debate and is ‘doing the right thing’.

He said: ‘We need to get the rules absolutely clear on what MPs can do, what they can’t do, so that our constituents have an expectation of what the person representing them is going to do.’

Mr Johnson declared that his proposals would ensure MPs who are ‘neglecting their duties to their constituents and prioritising outside interests would be investigated, and appropriately punished by the existing disciplinary authorities’. 

He said it was now ‘imperative that we put beyond doubt the reputation of the House of Commons by ensuring the rules which apply to MPs are up to date, effective and appropriately rigorous.’

He said he would seek a ‘cross-party consensus’ on the issue – prompting fears from some Tory MPs that Labour will ensure new rules are exceedingly tough.

As the PM battled to regain the public’s confidence:

  • MPs on Parliament’s liaison committee prepared to grill Mr Johnson over the sleaze row today;
  • It emerged that MPs could also be banned from taking freebies from lobbyists – and could have to declare new jobs they take after leaving Parliament;
  • Sir Keir claimed the PM had been ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to support reform by Labour’s own bid to tighten the rules. 

The Government will try to amend Labour’s anti-sleaze motion with a vote in the Commons this afternoon to reflect the PM’s new plan.

Mr Johnson’s announcement came less than a fortnight after he tried to save Mr Paterson, who was found to have broken lobbying rules. As recently as a week ago, the PM said MPs’ second jobs can ‘strengthen’ Parliament.

But yesterday saw his predecessor Theresa May deliver a withering assessment on the Paterson debacle, saying the Government’s attempt to spare the former minister had been ‘misplaced, ill-judged and just plain wrong’. 

She added: ‘Damage has been done to all MPs and to Parliament as a whole.’

The new proposals could directly affect around 30 MPs who currently hold lucrative jobs advising firms. 

The PM has written to Speaker Lindsay Hoyle proposing a dramatic overhaul of the rules to crack down on abuses of the system – that could hit the interests of a number of Tory MPs

Jacob Rees-Mogg humbly admitted he had made a ‘mistake’ in pushing the retrospective overhaul of the standards system, as he urged members to vote for a motion that would official scrap the changes and rebuke Owen Paterson

They include former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who is paid more than £182,000 a year to advise six companies, and former transport secretary Chris Grayling, who is paid £100,000 a year as a ‘strategic adviser’ to a ports operator. The plan to place ‘reasonable limits’ on time spent on outside interests follows outcry over Sir Geoffrey, who has devoted 10,700 hours to his legal career since 2009. Yet some Tory MPs warned the PM risked going too far.

‘The Prime Minister is pouring fuel on the fire just as it was starting to go out,’ one senior figure said. ‘What does ‘reasonable limits’ mean? Can you still be a minister and a constituency MP?

‘Labour will have a field day with this – they will end up having us clocking in and clocking out to no useful end, while the media will crawl all over everything we do.’

Mr Rees-Mogg attempted to take the blame for the public backlash yesterday, telling the Conservative Home website that he had persuaded the PM to try to help Mr Paterson. The Commons Leader said he had done so out of sympathy for the former environment secretary, whose wife Rose committed suicide last year.

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, Kathryn Stone, found Mr Paterson guilty of ‘egregious’ breaches of lobbying rules on behalf of two firms which had paid him more than £500,000.

But Mr Rees-Mogg said he felt Mr Paterson had been ‘punished enough’ by his tragic loss. ‘It was not seen by the electorate as being merciful, it was seen as being self-serving,’ he said of the attempt to block Mr Paterson’s suspension. 

‘I must take my share of responsibility for this. I thought it was the right thing to do, I encouraged the Prime Minister to go down this route, and I was wrong.’ 

The PM said at the weekend: ‘Of course, I think things could certainly have been handled better… by me.’

Tory MPs could lose income worth £1.7m a year under a full consultancy ban

As many as 50 Tory MPs could lose a combined income of £1.7million a year if consultancy work was banned altogether.

Analysis of the Commons Register of Member’s Interests carried out by the Labour Party shows those who stand to lose out.

Name of MP  


John Redwood







Andrew Mitchell







Mark Garnier






Stephen Hammond 






Richard Fuller




 Chris Grayling


 Sajid Javid



Bill Wiggin




John Hayes





Julian Smith





 Steve Brine





David Davis





Tim Loughton 



Kevin Hollingrake



Nusrat Ghani





Alun Cairns



Iain Duncan Smith





Mike Penning



Jake Berry 



Damian Green    



Ruth Edwards



Daniel Kawczynski



Edward Leigh



Natalie Elphicke



Bim Afolami 



Mark Pawsey



Tracey Crouch




Andrew Percy




 Laurence Robertson



Andrea Jenkyns



Mark Pritchard



Geoffrey Clifton-Brown    



Greg Knight




  Andrew Lewer





Graham Brady




Bob Neill 




Philip Dunne



Andrew Bridgen


Liam Fox


Crispin Blunt 




 John Howell



Alex Burghart



Ben Everitt


Amanda Solloway



Philip Davies



Daniel Poulter



Julian Sturdy



Damian Collins



Chris Skidmore


Russell Dean 


Job and firm 


Member of the Advisory Board of EPIC Private Equity;

Chairman of Investment Committee of Charles Stanley  


Senior adviser to Investec;

Senior adviser to Montrose Associates;

Consultant with Ernst & Young;

Arch Emerging Partners adviser;

Senior adviser on African matters to SouthBridge;

Senior adviser to Kingsley Capital Partners 


Principal Speaker for BRI Wealth Management plc;

Advisory Board of Laser Light Communications;

Chair of the Advisory Board of the Shetland Space Centre


Chair of the Infrastructure Policy Board, and Joint Chairman of the Policy Board, Public Policy Projects;

Strategic Advisor to Darwin Alternative Investments;

Non- Executive Director, Optibiotix Health plc (life sciences)


Chairman of OpSec Security;

Impero Solutions Ltd;

Advisory Director of Investcorp Securities Ltd


Strategic Adviser to Hutchison Ports Europe   


J.P. Morgan EMEA Advisory Council

Non-executive director of Allpay Limited;

Managing director of Emerging Asset Management Ltd   


President of HBSA, which provides technical and vocational education;

Strategic Adviser to BB Energy Trading Ltd


Ryse Hydrogen Ltd;

Simply Blue Management (UK) Ltd;

MJM Marine Ltd (marine refurbishment and fitting, property and renewables)


Strategic Adviser to Remedium Partners (permanent healthcare recruitment);

Strategic Adviser to Microlink PC;

Strategic Adviser to Sigma (pharmaceuticals)


Member of the Advisory Board of THI Holdings GmbH;

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Kohlgartenstrasse 1


Adviser to the Board of the Outcomes First Group;

Chairman of the Quality and Safeguarding Board    


Director of Hunters Property Plc



Non-executive Chairman of the Belfast Consortium Supervisory Board of Artemis Technologies Ltd


Senior Adviser to BBI Group;

Senior Adviser to Veezu Holdings Ltd;

Adviser to Elite Partners Capital Pte Ltd  


Member of the International Advisory Board of Tunstall Health Group Ltd;

Adviser to the Board of Byotrol Technology Ltd


Non-Executive Director of JT Consultancy Ltd;

Non-Executive Director of Law Abroad Ltd    


Strategic corporate advice to Squire Patton Boggs (law firm)


Abellio Transport Holdings (rail and bus operator)         


Adviser to MHR International UK Ltd



Consultant providing general advice to The Electrum Group LLC


Non-executive director of Europe Arab Bank



Chair of the New Homes Quality Board  


Non-executive director of Apprentify Limited



Chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association


Independent Non-Executive Director of British Racing’s Horse Welfare Board   



Advisory Board for Cumberland Strategies;

Advisory Board of Iogen Corporation (Canada)


 Parliamentary Adviser on Sport and Safer Gambling to the Betting and Gaming Council


Director of the National Centre for Higher Education Policy



Consultant offering general advice to the Consumer Credit Association (CCA)


Partner in East Beckham partnership, engaged in arable farming in Norfolk


Adviser on by Cambridge and Counties Bank Ltd


Consultant providing public policy advice to Drakelow Development Holdings Ltd;

Advice to Penelope Thornton Hotels Limited;

Senior Counsel to GIN Property Ltd c/o Broughton Lambert Accountants


Adviser on communications and marketing strategy to Snowshill Allied Holdings Ltd;

Primary Access and Research


Consultant to Weightmans LLP;

Consultant to the Substantia Group        



Non-Executive Director of Reaction Engines Ltd


Adviser to Mere Plantations Ltd





A Director of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians;

Oversight Board Member of Stay Belvedere Hotels Ltd


Associate of SP Broadway Ltd (communications company)


Non-Executive Director of New Scientist Ltd


Strategic adviser, retained via Weble Ltd, to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales


Director from Amanda Solloway Ltd (learning consultancy)


Parliamentary Adviser on Pawnbroking to the National Pawnbroking Association  


Non-executive Director of Kanabo Group PLC  


G E Sturdy and Son; a farming partnership


Member of the Advisory Board of the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society


Advisory Board Member, Oxford International Education Group     


EPIFNY Consulting Ltd 

 2021 income
























































































































































































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