After months of the government making key decisions about Brexit behind closed doors, we’ve found a way the public can have a say.
For just £4,400 a day, you can employ the services of ex-minister Lord Andrew Lansley. Two other MPs, Peter Lilley and Andrew Mitchell, offered paid advice to a fake Chinese firm during a Channel 4 investigation.
Andrew Lansley even explained how to pull the wool over the public's eyes, by contracting him via his wife’s firm.
Offering privileged intel and access for cash couldn’t be further from the public interest, it’s naked profiteering.
For these three, the honour of serving the public doesn’t motivate them enough. They’re more than happy to take advantage of their position by raking in eye watering sums.
To make things worse, all three politicians insist they have done nothing wrong.
When some politicians think this is normal, not an abuse of public trust, it shows just how broken our political system is. It raises the question, who do politicians like this think they’re working for? The public, or the highest bidder?
The sad thing is we knew that this would happen. In 2016, we wrote about how big lobbying firms were cashing in on Brexit by employing former ministers, civil servants and others with valuable knowledge. In 2017 we saw the New Nicotine Alliance write to Jeremy Hunt calling for tobacco regulations to be scrapped as part of the Brexit process. It was all too predictable that some politicians would cash in too.
So what’s the solution?
We need a democratic Brexit, not an establishment Brexit. Decisions over trade, rights, the environment and everything it impacts need to be made by MPs, not ministers, with real opportunities for the public to have their say. If these decisions are out in the open, there’s far less for big companies to gain from paying for insider access.
Right now, we have a big fight to stop a handful of ministers grabbing powers to make all these decisions on their own. MPs will be little more than spectators unless the EU Withdrawal Bill is amended. Right now the Bill is with the House of Lords, and they have the power to fix it. Sign our open letter to the Lords asking them to act now.