Kevin Barron, chairman of the Standards committee troughers’ union, has stepped aside after being embroiled in a conflict of interest row. You almost couldn’t make it up.
You may be aware of an article published in the Daily Telegraph today entitled “MPs Standards Chief in breach of Rules”. This refers to a position I held as a Parliamentary advisor to the Japanese Pharmaceutical Group. The article centres on the use of catering facilities in the house for one breakfast meeting and two dinners, where members of the group and Members of Parliament met to discuss the pharmaceutical industry in the UK. These three meetings were just a small proportion of the meetings I attended in this role but the only ones hosted in Parliament.
The relationship I had as an advisor was for twenty hours a year and the agreement was that a direct payment would be made by the JPG to the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in my constituency.
My own understanding is that due to the fact that I made no personal gain and all the fees were paid to a charity, I had not breached the rules on usage of parliamentary facilities for personal or business use. It is a matter of record that I followed the rules in registering this interest and that I deposited an agreement for the provision of services, as the rules required.
In light of the allegations that I may have breached House of Commons code of conduct or rules, I refer myself to you for you to consider whether any breaches of the rules or the code of conduct have taken place. Accompanied with this letter is copies of all correspondence with the JPG during the time in question.
You may wish to know I have recused myself from both the Standards & Privileges committee until such time that this matter has been resolved.
Watch Guido take on Barron on sleazy MPs here…
UPDATE: A friend of Barron gets in touch:
“Didn’t make a penny, 9k to children’s hospice. Only stood down temporarily while it’s investigated”