Great news for all those retiring backbenchers currently in talks with lobbying firms!
The Sunday Times reveals that a ‘secret deal has been struck so that almost all former MPs are now entitled to a pass giving them special access to the Houses of Parliament for the rest of their lives’.
Under the old rules only long-serving members were eligible for passes. But those rules appear to have been relaxed.
The paper outlines the benefits: ‘The pass entitles former members to skip queues going into the Commons and mix with former colleagues over a drink at the bar or in the terrace cafe. They can also book dining rooms and invite guests.’
Sir Alistair Graham, the former parliamentary standards watchdog, suggests all of this makes backbenchers a more attractive proposition. He tells the paper: ‘Access to parliament provides an incentive for lobbyist companies to employ ex-MPs.’
Add that extra £10k to the salary now…!
Meanwhile, the campaign group Spinwatch has forced the release – under freedom of information laws- of documents naming the former MPs who hold Commons passes under the old rules. Of the 200 former MPs named, 25 work for lobbyists or public affairs companies…