MP Bim Afolami slams 'scurrilous' Private Eye article

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami featured in Private Eye.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami featured in the February 18 edition of Private Eye. - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has hit back at a national magazine for suggesting he breached the Parliamentary Code of Conduct.

In a column in last week's Private Eye, Mr Afolami was accused of failing to declare his work with Apprentify, a company which provides digital and technical apprenticeship placements.

The article highlights how he was appointed to the £30,000-a-year role in November 2020, just a couple of days after raising the issue of apprenticeships in Parliament.

He told the House of Commons on November 25 2020: “Earlier this week, I spoke to many people and companies— training providers and others—in my constituency about apprenticeships, and how we need to improve the system and make it more flexible.

"Will the Chancellor set out in further detail what the measures in this spending review will do to help businesses, training providers and young people get the apprenticeships they deserve?”

He again brought up the value of apprenticeships in a debate on financial services on December 9 2021.

"It means the industry doing more on alternative routes into the [financial services] sector — apprenticeships and others," he said.

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The magazine stated: "Despite his outside number increasing his income by around 36 per cent, Afolami neglected to mention it , as the MPs' Code of Conduct requires."

But Bim refuted the publication's suggestions: "I have not breached the Code of Conduct at all – it was a scurrilous article that sought to suggest that even the mention of the word apprenticeships would require a public notification under the rules.

"The rules do not say that – it requires a judgement as to whether my mention of apprenticeships would be likely to give rise of a conflict of interest. It did not – I only mentioned the word in the context of a much wider speech about financial services."