Labour is keen to fuel the sleaze claims against Geoffrey Cox, even though Guido’s pointed out Sir Keir was just as keen on the lucrative legal advisory game. Yesterday the party went in hard on the story that Geoffrey Cox had used his parliamentary office for non-parliamentary work, writing to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner demanding an investigation. The letter from Angela Rayner cited the MPs’ Code of Conduct:
“Part V. Article 16 of the Members Code of Conduct is very clear that “members are personally responsible and accountable for ensuring that their use of an expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is; always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves”. My understanding of this rule has always been that members were never to use the facilities gifted to them by Parliament and their constituents for their private interests.”
This has always excluded using taxpayer-funded facilities for party political campaigning, over the years MPs have been reprimanded over and over again and had to repay the costs of their abuse of the system. A classic example would be partisan campaigning mailshots sent via the free parliamentary postage facility.
Guido suggests the Labour Party gets their own house in order on this issue first. A preliminary search – more to come – has turned up a number of Labour MPs using parliamentary facilities for non-parliamentary work. Pictured here is the former chair of the Parliamentary Standards Committee Kate Green with shadow disabilities minister Vicky Foxcroft, phone banking for a by-election from their parliamentary offices:
Huge thanks to @KateGreenSU @vickyfoxcroft @RupaHuq & @ApsanaBegumMP for coming to our virtual phonebank for Old Bexley & Sidcup today. Bexley residents are telling us they are sick of dirty streets & bins not being collected and think it’s time for change pic.twitter.com/h2G8cLqHLg— Ellie Reeves (@elliereeves) November 2, 2021
Here Helen Hayes can be seen clearly sitting in a Parliamentary chair while also phone banking for Old Bexley & Sidcup:
Thank you @helenhayes_ for joining our phonebank session. We had a really productive afternoon talking to voters in Old Bexley & Sidcup and hearing their concerns. It's clear that many are feeling let down by the current Tory leadership. pic.twitter.com/J6qPJtoB4g— Ellie Reeves (@elliereeves) November 9, 2021
Guido is certain this is just the tip of the iceberg. The pandemic moving many events on to Zoom has made it easier to gather the evidence. Guido is equally certain that if Geoffrey Cox has broken the rules on using his office facilities for non-parliamentary work, whatever punishment he is given should also be given to the likes of Kate Green, Vicky Foxcroft and Helen Hayes. Using taxpayer funded facilities for private or partisan advantage is rightly against the rules. Phone-banking from parliamentary offices is blatantly abusing the system. Labour may come to regret going down this path…