THE public is rightly concerned about what their MPs are spending their time on and who is giving them money.

The case of Sir Geoffrey Cox, who has spent weeks in the Caribbean earning huge sums, is indefensible, particularly as he appears to playing a game with his property so that he can maximise his claims from the taxpayer. He hasn’t broken any rules but he has broken the spirit of many of them.

Consequently, all MPs are being tarred with the same brush, and it is reassuring to see that the register of interest shows that our local MPs are not like that.

MPs do have spare time, in which they can write the odd article or appear on the odd TV show; they have had a previous life in which they invested in property or built up a company.

However, as the case of Owen Paterson showed, when an MP is paid by a company as a consultant, the lines become very blurred. And when the hours worked rack up, the MP is clearly being distracted from his full time job representing his constituents, and when the sums he receives become bigger than his salary, then questions can be asked as to who his true master is: the people or the companies?

The time is coming for consultancy work to be banned and for second jobs to be limited in time so that constituents know that their MP is working for them, as they are paid to do, and not for someone else.