MP Geoffrey Cox will do more paid work this month for the British Virgin Islands

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Tory MP Geoffrey Cox has agreed to two more weeks of work to represent British Virgin Islands ministers this month while Parliament is in session, it has been learned.

The former attorney general has come under scrutiny in recent days for his second job as a lawyer, which has earned him nearly £ 6million on top of his MP’s salary.

As the Conservative Party faces a plethora of sordid allegations, government ministers have pointedly refused to defend Cox against allegations that he handed over lucrative outside work to his constituents – which he has denied.

While Cox will not be traveling to the Caribbean and will only have to appear before the commission of inquiry to review the country’s governance standards, he is expected to be working on the complex investigation from the 15th to the 26th. November, according to official documents.

The engagements sparked further criticism of Cox’s focus on his parliamentary duties.

He is representing a range of British Virgin Islands (BVI) government figures, including Prime Minister Andrew Fahie, on a formal commission of inquiry examining allegations of poor governance and abuse of power.

He has visited the country at various times since April this year and has used the procedures in place amid Covid restrictions to vote by proxy in his absence. Cox has also appeared virtually from his parliamentary office, prompting Labor to demand an investigation into whether this violates House of Commons rules prohibiting the use of such facilities for private work.

At the last meeting of the commission of inquiry on 22 October, the head of the inquiry, Sir Gary Hickinbottom, a retired British judge, set the times for future hearings, including those requested by the Attorney General of BVI, Dawn Smith, among those represented by Barreur.

Smith had notified the committee “of the dates of availability of the lawyer of his choice – I believe it is Sir Geoffrey – for the period November 15-26,” Hickinbottom said, according to an official transcript from the audience.

After Hickinbottom outlined this and various other logistical issues, Cox, who appeared from a distance from an unknown location, with the background out of focus, replied, “I think our initial reaction is that most of these directions seem perfectly achievable. “

A spokesperson for Cox said this timeline does not mean Cox will appear before the commission throughout that time when the Commons is sitting.

“Sir Geoffrey is assisted by a legal team who will do most of the work,” they said. “Therefore, he will only need to make himself available for a period of about two hours a day, during that time. This will not conflict with his parliamentary responsibilities.

But asked what other duties Cox would have during the fortnight related to the BVI investigation besides appearing before the commission panel, the spokesperson did not respond.

Wendy Chamberlain, Chief Liberal Democrat Whip, said, “Geoffrey Cox clearly considers being an MP his second job. He has absolutely neither the time nor the inclination to do the job his constituents sent him to Westminster to do. “

Labor MP Andrew Gwynne said: “MPs should be in Parliament to represent their constituents. Boris Johnson’s refusal to act proves he’s lost control, doesn’t care, or both.

Cox is also making money by renting a three-bedroom apartment overlooking Battersea Park in south London, an apartment he and his wife bought in 2004 for £ 535,000. It is believed to be rented for between £ 3,000 and £ 4,000 per month, a figure based on a comparison with similar rental properties in the area.

The tenants said they had no direct contact with Cox, their landlord, and simply rented the apartment through an agency. Asking not to be named on Thursday, they said they had only moved in a few months earlier.

Although he owns a property in London, which he has owned for more than a decade, records from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which pays MPs’ expenses, show that Cox moved in November 2017 and began to claiming £ 1,900 per month rent for another residential property.

The cost of purchasing the original apartment was initially funded in part by taxpayer payments of £ 1,750 per month for mortgage interest charges, after Cox was elected in 2005. This was in the part of the old MP funding system, although it was abolished after the late-decade spending scandal.

In August, Fahie declined to say how much his government was paying law firm Withers for its overall legal representation, but said more than $ 3million (£ 2.25million) had been spent so far .

In a hearing on June 21, Cox stressed that the minister he represented “fully accepts that it is at the heart of the democratic idea that the purpose of an elected term is to serve the public – it is no ‘is not to enrich the incumbent.


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