We are going to finish this advent calendar off with three scandals that broke after we started opening the calendar windows (or at least after we had planned our initial entries). That three scandals that would normally result in an MP’s resignation have broken in such a short succession, is an indication of just how mired in sleaze this government is.
The first involves a more than influential member of this government, Jacob Rees Mogg. Rees-Mogg has gone on the record arguing for a smaller state that doesn’t go out of its way to protect the vulnerable:
“I’m very pleased we’ve got a more individualistic system which is not an insurance scheme, which you asked specifically, it isn’t designed like that – it is designed to be a safety net.”
However, it is clear that he believes in a more substantial ‘insurance scheme’ for himself, after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose £6m in loans which he had received from one of his own companies for buying and refurbishing property.
On 1 December, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone opened an investigation into to matter. Rees-Mogg has already stated:
“Saliston is 100% owned by me and this is declared clearly in the Commons register and to the Cabinet Office. It has no activities that interact with government policy.
“The loans from 2018 were primarily taken out for the purchase and refurbishment of 7 Cowley Street as temporary cashflow measures. All loans have either been repaid with interest in accordance with HMRC rules or paid as dividends and taxed accordingly.
“The register asks for earnings, not loans, which is why I was declared an as a non-remunerated director until I resigned on entering government. Loans are not earnings and are not declarable in the register of interests.”
Check out the rest of the advent calendar’s entries here, and stay tuned for more releases!