Sir Geoffrey Cox is facing fresh questions over sleaze after claiming almost £1,500 in travel expenses for seven round trips to London in three months last year when he only voted in person on three days.
Carl Eve www.devonlive.com
On the other 18 days of voting in the House of Commons in that period, the Torridge and West Devon MP used an arrangement called a “proxy” to cast a vote without attending.
At the end of this spell, PM Boris Johnson gave Mr Cox a knighthood for his “parliamentary and political service”.
Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said: “At first sight of the evidence available, it appears that Sir Geoffrey has questions to answer. The appropriate authorities should look into this.”
The Mirror’s latest revelations comes after a week of stinging criticism for Westminster’s top-earning MP, who has pocketed almost £6million from legal work on the side since becoming member for Torridge and West Devon in 2005.
His work ethic has not impressed his constituents. Brian Eales, 75, a volunteer at Tavistock Food Bank, said: “I’ve never seen Geoffrey Cox at the food bank in support. At the moment it seems to be all self, feathering his own nest.”
Business owner Suzanne Weston, 53, said: “Geoffrey Cox should stand down. What’s he’s doing is disgusting. Nobody can do two full-time jobs at once.”
Angela Evans, 64, said: “I’m personally appalled by the situation. I would not want him to be returned to office.”
The Mirror examined Mr Cox’s record in the last quarter of 2020 and found no evidence he spoke in Parliament or asked written questions and he was not listed on any parliamentary committees.
He completed the 440-mile round trip by car from his constituency home in Tavistock, Devon, to London seven times in the three months and claimed £105.75 from the taxpayer each way.
Yet he voted in person in the House of Commons on just three days – October 21, November 25 and December 2. For 54 other Commons votes over 18 days of Parliamentary debate he used a proxy.
His register of interests shed light on what else he was doing during that time.
Khan Partnership Solicitors in London paid him £8,000 “for legal services provided between 12 November and 4 December 2020” totalling “12 hrs approx”. The firm paid him £8,875 “for legal services provided in November 2020” totalling “10 hrs approx”.
Khan paid him another “£9,750 for legal services provided in October 2020” totalling 12 hours “approx”.
At the end of September 2020, Mr Cox received the first quarterly payment of £117,000 from Withers LLP for “up to 48 hours a month”. He continues to receive a quarterly payment from the London firm.
Mr Cox did not respond to a request for comment.