Labour demands overhaul of 'revolving door' between ex-ministers and top business roles

Posted On: 
28th June 2018

Labour has called for a "radical overhaul" in the regulation of former senior ministers’ abilities to take up lucrative posts on the back of their experience in Government.

George Osborne's and David Cameron's respective appointments were criticised by Labour
PA Images

The party said the establishment was able to "thrive across Whitehall" for as long as there is a "revolving door" between politics, the media and business.

It said that Acoba, the current advisory body, is "toothless" after nearly a dozen recent appointments saw its rules trampled on.

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David Cameron was among the examples given by Labour, after he was given special status to hold talks with China on behalf of Britain, despite liaison jobs with government being barred for at least two years after leaving post.

George Osborne was also cited after accepting the job as editor of the Evening Standard without Acoba’s approval, while former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley took a job advising a health consultancy firm just months after stepping down as an MP.

The party’s call comes ahead of a debate on a cross-party motion which blasts the regulator as “ineffectual”, while criticising it as having “damaged public trust in politics and public institutions and led to repeated scandals”.

Writing in The Times, Shadow Cabinet Office minister John Trickett said Acoba is “not fit for purpose” and there is “no sign” ministers were preparing to toughen up the rules.

“The failure of Acoba gets to the heart of how the British establishment survives and thrives across Whitehall,” he said.

“Ministers and special advisers are able to take up jobs in the private sector lobbying on behalf of firms and sectors they used to be responsible for regulating and overseeing, and the culture of second jobs in Westminster is wholly incompatible with the role of Members of Parliament as representatives of their constituents.

“We need a radical overhaul of the system to break open the cosy club of the British elite.

“Members of Parliament and special advisers should not be profiting from the expertise built up whilst working in government and must concentrate on their jobs as public servants.”