Labour MP Zarah Sultana has been told by the Deputy Speaker of the Commons to “moderate her language” after she described Conservative ministers caught up in the recent Tory sleaze scandal around lobbying rules as “dodgy”.
Following criticism of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dame Eleanor Laing rebuked the Labour backbencher for saying the pair were part of a “corrupt” administration.
Sultana had said: “From a dodgy transport secretary to dodgy Leader of the House, who last week tried to rewrite the rules to let his mate off the hook, this Conservative government is rotten to the core. Is the leader of the House proud of this shameful record?”
Rees-Mogg initially persuaded Tory MPs to back an amendment rejecting a 30-day suspension of Owen Paterson, but following a backlash ministers U-turned, Paterson resigned and the government passed a motion rescinding the amendment.
Shapps has been accused of using taxpayers’ money to lobby against planning developments that infringe on airstrips. Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has called for an investigation into the Transport Secretary’s conduct.
Asked four times today by the Deputy Speaker to withdraw the word “dodgy”, Sultana said: “I don’t think another word suffices [for] the levels of corruption and what we’re seeing from this government.”
Commenting after, the Labour backbencher said: “I thought I was already being generous by only calling Tory ministers “dodgy”. The public knows this is true, the second jobs scandal has exposed that, and MPs shouldn’t be afraid of saying so.”
The Commons backed on Wednesday, by a 297-vote majority (297 in favour with none voting against), a government amendment that Labour warned “waters down” measures proposed to prevent MPs from taking on second jobs.
The amended motion saw MPs agree to restrict outside work to “reasonable limits” and ban parliamentary advice or consultancy. The code of conduct was not changed. Final details are to be drawn up by the cross-party committee on standards.
Deputy speaker Eleanor Laing and Zarah Sultana clash over the use of the word "dodgy" in the Commons
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 18, 2021