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Tory MP who said Marcus Rashford should stick to his day job has second job

Tory MP who said Marcus Rashford should stick to his day job has second job
Backbencher working hundreds of hours a year away from parliament

Natalie Elphicke — the Tory MP who said Marcus Rashford should concentrate on football rather than getting involved in politics — has a second job.

The Dover MP drew backlash this summer after the England forward’s penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final by suggesting he would have had a better chance of scoring had he not spent the preceding months campaigning over free school meals for children from deprived backgrounds.

In a private message to Tory colleagues after England’s loss to Italy, Ms Elphicke said: “They lost. Would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics.”

However, it has emerged Ms Elphicke also spends a significant amount of time focussing on a job away from her parliamentary duties.

The register of MP’s financial interests shows she works eight hours a week, the equivalent of a full working day, as chair of the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB), an independent watchdog for new-build houses.

The backbencher earns £36,000 on top of her £82,000 MP’s salary for her role on the NHQB board, where she began working last May.

According to the Home Builders Federation, the NHQB is responsible for overseeing the “quality of new build homes” and seeks to improve customer service in the sector.

Between May and December 2020 she spent more than 150 hours working for the watchdog but has since increased her weekly commitment. Over the next year she will work 416 hours for the NHQB alongside her parliamentary duties.

Ms Elphicke apologised for her remark about Mr Rashford, saying she regretted her response to his missed penalty and was sorry “for any suggestion that he is not fully focused on his football”.

Speaking to the i, which first exposed Ms Elphicke’s supplementary role, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Marcus Rashford is the pride of Manchester and he doesn’t need the permission of anyone to do the wonderful work that he does.

“Boris Johnson needs to decide whether his MPs are MPs representing their constituents or if they are advisers and consultants working for private interests who pay them. They can’t be both.

“It’s time for the prime minister to come out of hiding. His refusal to take action sends a clear message that he is happy with the status quo.”

Boris Johnson has this week been under pressure to tighten rules after the second jobs of some MPs have come under intense scrutiny.

MPs are allowed to seek other employment as long as the work does not interfere with their parliamentary role. More than 200 MPs have received outside earnings on top of their main job representing constituents in the past year.

But revelations former attorney general Geoffrey Cox voted by proxy while working in the British Virgin Islands sparked outrage and led to renewed calls from the government’s independent standards for new restrictions on second jobs.

The Independent has approached Ms Elphicke for comment.