Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I gently say to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Andrew Gwynne) that it has never been suggested that, during the five or six weeks when he was in Copeland as the Labour party’s campaign organiser, he abandoned or did anything wrong by his constituents.
Members of all parties on both sides of the House work extremely hard, especially when they have the ultimate second job as a Minister, Secretary of State, Chancellor of the Exchequer or, of course, Prime Minister. Does my right hon. Friend agree that anybody who does any other work in addition to their duties as a Member of Parliament actually brings a huge amount of experience into this Chamber, and that that makes all of us represent everyone in this country even better? Does he also agree that the ultimate judges are our constituents, who can boot us out through the ballot box if they do not like what we do?
My right hon. Friend is right that our constituents are the ultimate judges of our behaviour and performance. There are very strong arguments for allowing people to have outside interests, and there are also strong arguments against. Those arguments need to be reconciled with more time and thought than is possible during consideration of an urgent question. I repeat my earlier point that when we make such decisions, we all have a duty not just to our own interests but to the wider reputation of our democracy. We have that duty in everything that we do, whatever post we hold in government or in Parliament.