Last week, Guido revealed five Labour MPs who were clearly guilty of the same rule breaking their party was levelling at Geoffrey Cox – namely using their taxpayer-funded offices for non-parliamentary work. In Cox’s case it was for a second job, in the five MPs’ cases it was for party political phone-banking. Photo evidence was provided. All five have since been quiet about the accusations, so today Guido has sent each of them questions, putting the allegations to them and asking for a response on behalf of both readers and wider taxpayers. We will let co-conspirators know next week what replies we get. In the meantime we are putting our questions in the public domain.
Sections in bold were included in the emails sent to Helen Hayes, Vicky Foxcroft and Kate Green, all of whom campaigned in the ongoing Bexley & Sidcup by-election. Sections in red were also included in the email to Kate Green, as well as Matt Western and Catherine West, who campaigned in the Batley & Spen by-election from their offices. Guido hopes for a response…
On 10 November, 2021, Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner wrote to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner urging an investigation into Geoffrey Cox, accusing him of breaching parliamentary rules by conducting non-parliamentary business from his taxpayer-funded Commons office.
As you will no doubt be aware, on 11 November, 2021 we published articles on order-order.com accusing you of similar rule-breaking activities. In your case, phone banking for the _ by-election from your Commons office. The allegations from the latter were supplemented by screenshots tweeted by your colleague Ellie Reeves – tweets that have been subsequently deleted.
As the MPs’ Code of Conduct in the Members Handbook makes quite clear:
“It is not acceptable to use parliamentary digital services for activities that could be considered party political campaigning or fundraising, or private business activity, except in those circumstances and for those users where this has been expressly permitted (e.g. as outlined in House of Commons dissolution guidance).”
Our readers, and taxpayers alike, are keen to know whether, as per the above rules, you were one of those expressly permitted to use parliament’s offices and digital services, including the internet connection, to campaign for your party in the by-election.
On 12 November, 2021 we further reported that George Galloway has launched legal proceedings in respect of the result of the Batley & Spen by-election, due to the Labour Party’s failure to declare and apportion appropriate expenses for your use of the offices in the spending returns. Again our readers would appreciate an explanation of why this was not declared in line with electoral law.
We look forward keenly to your response on the above points.