Tory sleaze proves that British politics needs cleaning up. Labour must do it | Polly Toynbee


Cleaning up politics is a stunningly simple task, glaringly obvious to anyone – except those 250 Tory MPs who voted last week to protect their own. What we need to do is take all the money out of Westminster and let parliamentarians live on their salaries as other public servants do. Just over a third of MPs took home £4.9m between them in outside earnings in the 12 months since March 2020.

Ah, we’d lose high-quality people by banning extra work, they say – yet how much would those paid “consultant” MPs be missed? Running the NHS, schools, Whitehall or councils, the public sector is packed with people of far higher calibre than the current crop of ministers. They work without fame but, like the better MPs, to improve society.

The recent scandal only passed as a “Westminster storm in a teacup” – the words of environment secretary George Eustice – because under Boris Johnson barely a week goes by without some new dishonesty: his…

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