Keir Starmer has once again brazenly disregarded his second jobs policy. The Labour leader has repeatedly committed his party to a ban on MPs having second jobs, most recently in January this year. However, that didn't stop him from attending another book launch for one of his frontbenchers, Nick Thomas-Symonds. The latter was promoting a revised edition of his Clement Attlee biography and his party leader was happy to help with the promotion.
Nick tweeted his obvious delight in the relaunch of his 2010 work.
This is the second time the Labour leader has endorsed a book for Thomas-Symonds. Last year he not only attended the launch of his Harold Wilson biography, he provided a quote for the front cover of promotional copies. It appears that Starmer's second jobs policy will either be kicked into the long grass when he enters Downing Street, or it will contain so many exemptions as to render it pointless. If he had any principle on the matter, he would have already implemented a ban on his own MPs taking second jobs.
In January of this year, when Starmer was challenged about Dave Lammy's array of secondary incomes - primarily from LBC - the Labour leader replied: "I think David does a lot of media work, and I think media work and writing books is all part of the political process". Lammy is Labour's highest earner from secondary income, collecting more than £200,000 since 2019 - in addition to his MPs' salary. He has pocketed thousands as a guest speaker for various organisations, including Facebook and Google.
The Rhondda MP Chris Bryant has also made thousands from speaking engagements, including £2,000 from investment bank Goldman Sachs - a statement of how far modern Labour has diverged from the Labour of Attlee.
Loudmouth gobshite Jess Phillips is also making a mint from second jobs, having picked up £162,000 since 2019. Her appearance as guest host on Have I Got News For You stretches Starmer's media exemption a bit thin. And what of other Labour MPs raking it in? There are plenty of them, with 38 per cent of all Labour MPs having declared additional incomes in the current parliament.
Margaret Hodge collects a £20,000 salary from her role at Royal Holloway University, where she is the chair of its governing council. Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr) takes home £25,000 a year advising the conservative think tank Policy Exchange (yes, you read that correctly). Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Tooting) tweeted in support of Starmer's proposed second jobs ban earlier this year, but in the same tweet contradicted herself by declaring: "I'm proud to do occasional shifts on the NHS front line". Admirable, maybe, but still a second job.
Perhaps the worst offender of all Labour's additional earners is Dan Jarvis. Despite being elected mayor of the Sheffield City region in 2018, picking up a £79,000 salary in the process, he went on to seek re-election as the MP for Barnsley a year later. He served a four year term as mayor, while still an MP, eventually deciding to stand down and pursue a career on the Westminster gravy train.
Money talks, no matter which side of the floor an MP sits. That is unlikely to change when Keir Starmer enters Downing Street.