Duncan Baker Fined £4,912 by Standards Commissioner

Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone has rapped Tory MP Duncan Baker on the knuckles for misusing House stationery for constituency letters earlier this year. Baker was ordered to apologise and repay £4,912.42 for sending newsletters on a “range of issues” – Commons stationery can only be used for specific issues – to his constituents last month. Back when posties actually delivered them…

In her decision published today, Stone said:

“After reviewing all the evidence, I found the Member’s use of Parliamentary resources to be a breach of paragraph 16 of the Code of Conduct for Members. I found that the letter constituted a newsletter on a range of issues which is prohibited by paragraph 3 of the rules for the use of stationery […] The Member told me that he had believed he was complying with the rules but apologised from the outset if he had inadvertently breached the rules.

He accepted my decision and undertook to refund to the House authorities the sum of £4,912.42 to reimburse the public purse the value of the misused stationery. I considered the breach to be at the less serious end of the spectrum and the Member’s remedial actions to be an appropriate outcome.”

Justice swiftly delivered…

mdi-timer 21 December 2022 @ 14:43 21 Dec 2022 @ 14:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Standards Commissioner Exonerates Education Minister & Slams Labour MP for Guardian Leak

The Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone has found Schools Minister Jonathan Gullis innocent of wrongdoing after an opportunistic shadow minister reported him over a £7,200 donation. On Monday The Guardian learnt that Gullis was under investigation, after Labour MP Stephen Morgan wrote to Stone arguing Gullis should have declared a donation towards his grammar schools campaign when arguing for their expansion as a backbencher. How on earth did they manage to get that story?

Just three days later, however, Guido learns Kathryn Stone has completely exonerated Jonathan Gullis. She will not be taking any action on these issues as she doesn’t believe there’s evidence that any rules were broken.

Meanwhile, in a follow-up letter to leaky shadow minister Stephen Morgan, she slams him for his Guardian briefing:

I was disappointed to note that you appeared to share your letter with The Guardian newspaper before giving me an opportunity to review or respond to your complaint. I consider this behaviour to be discourteous to me and I trust that it will not be repeated.”

Stone explains that she believes any onlooker would have concluded Gullis’ words were not influenced by the donation, rather influenced by his campaign, and that there is no evidence the campaign was launched as a result of said donation. Guido looks forward to the Guardian’s equally prominent coverage of this development…

mdi-timer 13 October 2022 @ 16:30 13 Oct 2022 @ 16:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour Chief Whip Under Investigation for Using Public Resources for Party Purposes

Labour Chief Whip Sir Alan Campbell is the latest Member of the Shadow Cabinet to be placed under investigation by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. The announcement states that Sir Alan is being investigated for “Use of information received in confidence in the course of the Member’s parliamentary duties”, and “Use of facilities [parliamentary email address] provided from the public purse”. Usually we’d have to wait for Kathryn Stone’s report before we learnt the details…

Guido, however, understands the investigation concerns Sir Alan sending an emails from his parliamentary requesting that constituents complete a “summer survey”, to get “thoughts on important local and national issues”. Whilst the email itself wasn’t partisan, the link to the survey took constituents to his Labour MP website, which then collected both the constituents voting intention, and contact details on behalf of the local Labour branch — should users agree. The website also installed Labour Party cookies on the user’s computer. 

A relatively minor mistake, though Guido would have thought a veteran like Sir Alan — with 25 years of Commons experience — would have known better…

mdi-timer 26 August 2022 @ 14:23 26 Aug 2022 @ 14:23 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lammy Broke Commons Rules Over Failure to Register Paid Gigs

The Commons sleaze commissioner has ruled Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy did break rules by failing to register fifteen events in his member’s register of interests declaration. Despite this not being Lammy’s first offence, Kathryn Stone has merely rapped him on the knuckles. Fifteen rule breaches certainly trump Sir Keir’s eight…

Stone’s investigation initially began looking at a complaint that Lammy had failed to register eight events between 7th October 2021 and 15th November 2021, however she uncovered a further seven interests that had also been registered late. While her inquiry was coming to a close, Lammy voluntary brought an additional failure to her attention…

The total payment for the eight initial events was a whopping £20,910

The seven further late registrations identified by Stone totalled an additional £14,884.88.

Lammy’s excuse? Ukraine and Coronavirus. Responding in a letter to Stone, he explains how the oversight occurred:

“During this time, the Leader of the Opposition made a surprise reshuffle of his shadow cabinet on 29 November 2021. I was appointed Shadow Foreign Secretary and immediately thrown into urgent briefings on the impending Russia-Ukraine situation which was developing at pace. This was also at the time of increasing coronavirus cases as a result of the Omicron variant which led to workers being encouraged to work from home.

My office was extremely busy dealing with the fallout from the pandemic situation in my constituency of Tottenham. Furthermore, my office manager, who usually has responsibility for such submissions, was on [details redacted] leave. As a result other staff in the office acted up to cover. This meant we were short staffed and extremely busy. This is why the submissions were overlooked and delayed.”

That’s a hell of an excuse…

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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…

mdi-timer 13 June 2022 @ 11:19 13 Jun 2022 @ 11:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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…

mdi-timer 13 June 2022 @ 10:20 13 Jun 2022 @ 10:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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