Ed Balls’ right-hand man, Alex Belardinelli, is breaking parliamentary rules. Not by daily dripping poison into the ears of journalists by briefing against Ed Miliband (just as he did against Alan Johnson). His rule breaking results from him being a registered parliamentary passholder. If he is employed by the Labour Party and is failing to declare this interest in the Register Of Interests Of Members’ Secretaries And Research Assistants, he has broken the rules and failed to disclose a financial interest. Given Belardinelli emails party press releases from his parliamentary email account, signed off as ‘Political Adviser to the Shadow Chancellor’, this is not wise. In government it would be a resigning matter.
If on the other hand he is employed by Parliament as a member of Mr Balls’ parliamentary staff he is breaking IPSA rules by conducting party political activities funded by the taxpayer. IPSA rules ban using parliamentary expenses for party political activities.
Belardinelli sends out party political materials from his parliamentary email address, effectively conducting taxpayer funded campaigning, which is against the rules. Admittedly these rules are widely broken, but they are the rules. If he is working for the Labour Party full time, then he should have declared as such in the register of interests:
‘In accordance with Resolutions made by the House of Commons on 17 December 1985 and 28 June 1993, holders of photo-identity passes as Members’ secretaries or research assistants are in essence required to register: Any occupation or employment for which they receive over £329 from the same source in the course of a calendar year, if that occupation or employment is in any way advantaged by the privileged access to Parliament afforded by their pass’
It is not as if he doesn’t have previous for doing this when he was a SpAd in government. So which is it? Is he breaking IPSA’s rules or Parliament’s rules?