People have something to say about Jess Phillips working for a ‘top Tory donor’

Jess Phillips
John Shafthauer

Morning Star is reporting that Labour backbencher Jess Phillips is moonlighting from her job as an MP. What’s really grabbed people’s attention is who Phillips is working for. Namely, as her boss is Lord Ashcroft, a prominent backer of the Conservative Party.

The House

Phillips is reportedly the deputy editor of the Ashcroft-owned The House, which is very specifically aimed at MPs. Morning Star writes:

The glossy magazine specialises in publishing positive profiles of MPs illustrated with attractive, well-lit photographs of them. It appeals to MPs’ vanity while also appealing to advertisers who want to reach them, promising corporations or lobbyists it is “closer than any other political magazine to the most powerful people in UK politics.

Ashcroft bought the Dods Group in 2012, which publishes The House and the website PoliticsHome. He was “losing influence” in the Conservative Party due to his feud with then PM David Cameron. The feud arose after Cameron claimed not to know Ashcroft was a tax exile before the 2010 election – something Ashcroft claims is false. Ashcroft was a key supporter of Cameron becoming PM and allegedly expected to become a minister before his tax arrangements were revealed.

Ashcroft went on to co-write the book Call Me Dave, which claimed Cameron had sex with a severed pig’s head. It was later revealed by the 2017 Paradise Papers that Ashcroft continued to avoid paying tax – despite assurances to the contrary.

Phillips now works for this man and is said to earn £8,000 a year for two hours work per month. People had some comments on the matter:

Response

People responded to the fact that Phillips is working for a prominent Tory backer:

https://twitter.com/Ollie4themany/status/1022949911053180930

Moonlighting

MPs are often criticised for having second jobs. They earn £77,379 a year, which seems like an amount worthy of their complete attention. Second jobs also open MPs up to accusations of conflicts of interest. Morning Star reports:

While The House generally publishes entirely friendly profiles of Tory ministers or Labour MPs, it has recently carried unusually negative pieces about Corbyn-supporting MPs like Chris Williamson.

With her readiness to work in cahoots with the Tories, it could also be speculated that Phillips’ actual conflict of interest is being a member of the Labour Party.

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