Starmer Insists “There’s No Problem Here” Over Sleaze Probe

With both the Standards commissioner and Durham Police on his back, Sir Keir is now under more investigations than Boris…

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Starmer Under Investigation by Commons Sleaze Commissioner

It looks like St Starmer is now facing another potentially hypocrisy-revealing investigation, not by Durham Police this time but by the Commons’ sleaze commissioner Kathryn Stone. An update to the parliamentary website this morning shows Sir Keir is now facing a standards investigation into allegations he’s broken MP rules registering his outside earnings, gifts, benefits and hospitality.

Oh dear, oh dear…

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Jess Phillips Investigation Concludes Multiple Register of Interest Breaches

A Commons sleaze investigation into shadow minister Jess Philips has concluded she breached the House’s Register of Interest rules multiple times with late registrations of payments in her capacity as an author, columnist and public speaker, beyond the 28-day deadline. She also “incorrectly registered accommodation provided by Google as hospitality rather than earnings.” No doubt if this were a Tory minister Labour would by demanding a resignation…

The Standards Commissioner has dictated that the next register of interests update should include all Phillips’ relevant entries in bold, however the sheer number of breaches meant the commissioner made the rare decision to call Phillips in to meet the Registrar “to discuss her obligations within the Rules and Guide to the Rules”, which Jess did on 11 May this month. A bollocking in other words…

In summary, the sleaze commissioner found Philips to have breached Paragraph 14 of the Code by:

  1. Failing to register 17 of your financial interests within the 28-day deadline set by the House
  2. Failing to register a payment for appearing as a guest on an episode of “Have I Got News for You” in May 2019
  3. Incorrectly registering accommodation provided to you following an event by Google and an event by GQ as hospitality rather than income.

Philips says she’s “truly sorry” for the mistakes, which “were without question mine and those mistakes breached the rules”.

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Lord Failed to Declare Interests in Hand Sanitiser Firm Before Asking Parliamentary Questions

The Earl of Shrewsbury has admitted he was “totally at fault” for failing to declare his interest as a company adviser to SpectrumX, a hand sanitiser manufacturer, before asking multiple questions in the House related to government guidance on sanitiser in October 2021. Following an investigation by the Lords Standards Commissioner, launched after complaints by Tom Winnifrith, the report yesterday concluded Earl Chetwynd-Talbot had breached the Lords’ Code of Conduct – albeit inadvertently:

“Lord Shrewsbury has candidly admitted his failure to register the clients of Talbot Consulting Ltd which constitutes a breach of paragraph 12(a) of the Code of Conduct. I accept Lord Shrewsbury’s explanation that his failure to register his interests correctly was inadvertent.”

The Commissioner gave Chetwynd-Talbot a minor slap on the sanitised wrist, concluding it was “a minor breach”, and that a simple apology was the “appropriate” response to allow him to wash his hands of the probe. The Earl did has he was told, and promised to stay squeaky clean in future:

“As previously stated, Talbot Consulting Ltd is a personal service company. I freely admit that I did not read the rule change in 2020 and was unaware of its existence […] It was entirely through my failure to make myself aware of the change of rules in 2020 that I had failed to register the client’s names following that rule change, and I am totally at fault.

No doubt Lord Shrewsbury will want to wash his hands of this sorry affair…

Hat-tip: Share Prophets

Read the Standards Commissioner’s full report below:

Read More

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Now Jess Phillips Faces Sleaze Investigation… on Two Counts

Labour hypocrisy charges: you wait for one and two come along at once. After Guido reported yesterday that Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves is under investigation for donations, Guido now spots Jess Philips – also in the Shadow Cabinet – is now also under investigation. On two counts…

Katherine Stone’s quickly becoming one of the hardest working people in Westminster…

mdi-timer 1 March 2022 @ 10:56 1 Mar 2022 @ 10:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Shadow Chancellor Under Sleaze Investigation

Labour has hardly shied away from gunning for the Tories on sleaze, not least over Flatgate and Greensill. Leading the charge has been Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who has accused the Conservatives of sleaze no fewer than 31 times on TwitterIt’s awkward, therefore, that four days ago the Commons sleaze commissioner launched an investigation into Reeves for improper registration of donations and other support…

Paragraph 14, of course, reads:

“Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with Ministers, Members, public officials or public office holders.”

Back in March 2021 Reeves was out and about suggesting the government’s delay in publishing the ministers’ register of interests was over potential “conflicts of interests”. Over to Kathryn Stone…

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