After the revelation that the Premier of the Virgin Islands has been arrested in the US for drug smuggling and money laundering, local Lib Dems have reiterated their call for Sir Geoffrey Cox to resign as MP. In November last year, when it was revealed that the Torridge and West Devon MP had taken on a £400,000 a year job to provide legal services to the Virgin Islands Government, Lib Dem Chair Stephen Middleton wrote an open letter to Sir Geoffrey calling on him to resign on the grounds that he was prioritising his own professional and financial interests over serving his constituents.
It was shown that, since becoming an MP, Sir Geoffrey had earned more than £6 million outside Parliament and that his new job would commit him to up to 41 hours per month. Newspaper investigations revealed that Sir Geoffrey had been living in the Caribbean in a luxury £3.1 million villa while the UK was in Covid lockdown.
Despite widespread outrage, the Government declined to introduce stricter regulation of MPs' interests. Sir Geoffrey claimed that he had done nothing wrong and continued to advise the Virgin Islands Government - defending it against accusations of corruption led by the Foreign Office.
David Wilson, Vice Chair of Torridge and West Devon Liberal Democrats, commented:
'Sir Geoffrey's position is now completely untenable. Not only is he flaunting his wealth at a time when most of his constituents are struggling to meet cost-of-living increases, but now we can all see the filthy context in which he earns it: the head of the government he works for is in gaol in the US, accused of conspiring to import cocaine. If Sir Geoffrey thinks voters in this constituency are happy to have him as their MP, while at the same time earning a packet from defending corruption overseas, let him put it to the test and resign.'
Bert Bruins, Membership Officer for Torridge and West Devon Liberal Democrats, said:
'Geoffrey Cox chose to defend a notorious tax haven whilst being an MP, even using his Commons office to conduct private business with the Virgin Islands. If he has any shame or scruples he will resign as an MP for Torridge and West Devon promptly because he appears to me to be more interested in defending corrupt financial interests than the interests of his own constituents.'