Bim Afolami MP is facing calls to resign - and criticism from Carol Vorderman - after he failed to declare that he is being paid £2,000 per month to chair the recently-launched Regulatory Reform Group (RRG).

The Guardian revealed on Wednesday that while Mr Afolami had declared in the parliamentary register of interests that he was being paid to work for WPI Strategy, a public affairs firm, he had not declared that they were paying for him to chair the RRG.

The RRG recently published a report, which was funded by Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), a client of WPI Strategy. WPI Strategy acts as the secretariat for the RRG, and the CEO of PIC sits on a Business Advisory Council which supports the RRG.

This is not the first time Mr Afolami has been criticised for his declarations in the register of interest. Last year, he hit back at claims by Private Eye that he had failed to declare his work with Apprentify.

According to the Guardian, Mr Afolami has used a loophole which allows MPs to conduct lobbying work "if they are a member of an association that is carrying out the lobbying, or if the work would benefit the sector as a whole rather than a specific company".

Using this loophole means that Mr Afolami appears to have kept within the rules.

His declaration on the register of interests states that he is paid £2,000 per month for 10 hours work with "a family business providing professional advice with respect to property management, mediation services and legal and financial matters".

WPI Strategy is named as a client but the declaration does not link this to Mr Afolami's work with the RRG.

Mr Afolami mentioned the RRG's work at Prime Minister's Questions in February this year, when he said: "I thank the prime minister for supporting the launch of the new RRG.

"Will he commit to working with our group on two specific areas: first, to improve the accountability and responsiveness of our regulators to stakeholders and parliament; and secondly, to improve the economic potential in key growing areas of the economy, such as financial services, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing?"

Mr Afolami told us that "no rules were broken".

"I did register my interest but put it in the wrong category on the register. That has now been amended."

Responding to the incident, Cllr Sam Collins has called for Mr Afolami's resignation.

Cllr Collins is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden, though upcoming boundary changes mean he may have to join a race to be selected as candidate for the new Hitchin constituency.

He said: "It is pretty clear that Afolami should resign. Rather than using his parliamentary time to raise issues that his constituents care about, he is instead using time at Prime Ministers Questions to raise issues that a private company is paying him £2,000 a month to take an interest in.

"It is not the first time, of course. Just last year it was revealed that he was paid £2,500 by another company, whose interests he raised in the Commons without declaring an interest.

"People in our area are utterly fed up of being taken for granted by a MP who seems to show little real interest in the local area.

"This is quite frankly an insult to those people whose emails and letters have gone unanswered or simply get a cut and paste response. 

"It is also worth noting that Afolami claims £3,250 a month of tax payers money for a second home in London, despite the constituency being in easy commuting range of Westminster.

"When our area voted remain Afolami used tax payer money to join the ERG, and later the ‘Brexit Delivery Group', when our rail service collapsed locally Afolami got himself a job in the Department for Transport, and now we again find out news that makes it looks like Afolami’s own interests always come before those of Hitchin. 

"It is well past time for Afolami to resign and let the electorate in our area decide who they want to represent them."

Cllr Collins' criticism of Mr Afolami was echoed by Victoria Collins, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Harpenden & Berkhamsted.

She said: “It's a disgrace that our local MP was not transparent about his paid work to lobby Rishi Sunak's government.

"No wonder local people have lost their trust in the Conservative government and our local MP.

"It’s yet another case of Conservative MPs thinking it’s one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.

"That’s why so many lifelong Conservative voters are choosing the Liberal Democrats instead.”

Even Carol Vorderman joined in the criticism on Twitter.

Responding to the story, Bim Afolami said: “I spend two days a month in my capacity as chair of the Regulatory Reform Group.

"This is an independent group of parliamentarians who have come together to improve the overarching regulatory framework in the UK so that it boosts consumer outcomes and UK competitiveness.

"I approached WPI Strategy to help provide secretariat services to the group given their experience in running similar initiatives such as the Covid Recovery Commission. They advised me that Pension Insurance Corporation, an existing client of theirs, would be able to provide some business insight into the project.

"I was keen for the group to produce an initial report, which the PIC kindly agreed to support and indeed wrote a foreword to. To be clear, editorial independence was strictly controlled by the parliamentarians.

"Given the time I spent on the project as Chair, I asked WPI if they would be willing to contribute to my costs which they did. I fully declared payment for this. However, for the avoidance of doubt I have amended my declaration accordingly with the registrar."