REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE JUNE 2008 EDITION
This edition of the Register of Members' Interests
is the third to be published for the Parliament elected in May
2005, and is up to date as at 16 June 2008.
The Register was set up following a Resolution of
the House of 22 May 1974. The maintenance of the Register is one
of the principal duties laid on the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards by House of Commons Standing Order No. 150.
The purpose of the Register is to encourage
transparency, and, through transparency, accountability. It has
hitherto been set out as being 'to provide information of any
pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a Member receives
which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or
her actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken
in the capacity of a Member of Parliament'.
On 27 March 2008 it was amended on the recommendation of the Committee
on Standards and Privileges
to add 'and such other information as the House may from time
to time require to be included." The Register is not
intended to be an indicator of a Member's personal wealth; nor
is registration of an interest in any way an indication that a
Member is at fault.
This edition of the Register has two new features.
First, on 27th March 2008, the House of
Commons resolved that from 1 April 2008 Members might make an
entry in a separate section of the Register if they employ family
members paid for from parliamentary allowances. Such registration
remains voluntary until August 1 2008 and will be compulsory thereafter.
As the interest represented by such employment is not a direct
benefit to the Member, the House has also amended the purpose
of the Register as described above.
In order to reflect the distinction between the existing
categories and the new Category 11, that category appears separately
in Part 2 of the Register. Annexed to Part 2 are the relevant
job descriptions and salary bands for Members' staff.
Secondly, a substantial number of entries dated 15
May appear in Category 4 of this edition of the Register, relating
to donations received by Conservative front-bench spokespeople
where the donation was made to the party but where the donor expressed
a wish that it should be used for the support of a particular
front bench office. The information relating to many of these
entries was received considerably before 15 May but it was only
on 14 May that the Committee on Standards and Privileges confirmed
that these donations should be registered on the Register of Members'
Interests by the Members concerned rather than being registered
solely by the party with the Electoral Commission; hence they
are recorded as having been registered as soon as possible after
the question of their registrability was settled. Other such
donations were registered within four weeks of the publication
of the Committee's report, as recommended therein.
While the obligation to register outside employment,
sponsorship, property and shareholdings is absolute, in respect
of other gifts and benefits the requirement is only to register
those interests which in any way arise out of membership of the
House. Consonant with this principle, the interests of spouses,
partners and dependent children are registrable by the Member
only they if they arise from the Member's position as an MP or
if they are held jointly with the Member or by the Member on behalf
of the other party.
With the exception of the employment of family members
funded from parliamentary allowances, the interests which are
to be registered are set out in the 'Code of Conduct and Guide
to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members', first agreed
in July 1996
and revised in May 2002,
and March 2007.
The financial thresholds over which an interest
must be registered are mainly based on percentages of an MP's
parliamentary salary: one per cent for employment, gifts and hospitality;
ten per cent for rental income; and a hundred per cent for property
and shares. The exception is sponsorship, where the threshold
has been set at £1,000 to match that set for registration
with the Electoral Commission.
Continuing interests such as employment or property
remain on the Register until the Member asks for them to be removed.
'One-off' benefits such as gifts, visits and donations appear
with their date of registration and remain on the Register for
a year from that date and until they have appeared in one printed
Entries made in the Register
aim to give a clear description of the nature and scope of the
interests declared. Subject to the Rules, however, each Member
is responsible for the content and style of his or her own entry.
Interests are registered under the following ten
1. Remunerated directorships
In this section Members are required to register
any remunerated directorships, paying them more than one per cent
of a Member's salary a year,
which they hold in public or private companies. Members are also
required to register directorships which are unremunerated if
the companies are associated with, or subsidiaries of, a company
in which the Member holds a remunerated directorship.
2. Remunerated employment, office,
This is the section for registering outside employment,
professions and sources of remuneration (of more than one per
cent of a Member's salary a year) not clearly covered elsewhere
in the registration form. Members are not expected to register
the amount of their earnings except where they are providing services
in the capacity of a Member of Parliament,
for example making representations to government departments,
providing advice on parliamentary or public affairs or sponsoring
functions in parliamentary buildings. In such cases they must
register the amount of their earnings within bands of £5,000
and, with the exception of speaking or writing engagements, must
also deposit for public inspection an 'agreement for the provision
In this section Members are required to disclose
the names of clients (other than companies or organisations already
identified in sections 1 and 2, but including clients of those
companies or organisations) for whom they provide services in
the capacity of a Member of Parliament.
4. Sponsorship or financial or material
In this section the Member is required to register
any donation of more than £1,000 received by the constituency
association which is linked either to candidacy at an election
or to membership of the House, and also any other form of financial
or material support as a Member. A 'linked' donation is defined
as one 'expressly tied to the Member by name e.g. if it is a contribution
to the Member's fighting fund or a donation which has been solicited
or encouraged by the Member'. The obligation to register does
not apply to constituency development agreements and other arrangements
in which the identity of the Member is not a factor.
5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality
This section is for the registration of any gift
or material advantage received from a United Kingdom source, which
in any way relates to membership of the House. Tangible gifts
and other benefits over one per cent of the parliamentary salary
in value must be registered.
A number of benefits are offered to all Members,
or to all Members within a particular geographical area. The Guide
to the Rules specifies that gifts and benefits known to be available
to all Members need not be registered, and the Committee on Standards
and Privileges has ruled that this exemption should include benefits
made available to certain Members on a geographical basis.
Among such regionally or generally available benefits,
those which are currently known to be, or potentially to be, of
registrable value are:
web-site design and maintenance by e-politix.com
access to political monitoring service provided by DeHavilland
First Great Eastern Trains station car park passes
Thameslink Trains station car park passes
Southwest Trains station car park passes
(restricted to use on parliamentary business)
Virgin Trains station car park passes
Airline privilege cards
Such benefits are not required to be registered.
Not all Members take up these benefits when they
are offered, and those who do use them to varying extents.
6. Overseas visits
This section covers overseas visits, made by
Members or their spouses or partners, which in any way arise out
of membership of the House, where the cost of any such visit has
not been wholly borne by the Member or by United Kingdom public
funds. Several categories of visit, made by Members in the normal
course of their parliamentary duties, are exempted from registration.
For the most part these are visits paid for from UK public funds
or by a Member's own political party.
The threshold for registration is one per cent of the parliamentary
Where a fee is received for an engagement abroad
and travel and accommodation are also paid the item is usually
entered under Category 2.
7. Overseas benefits and gifts
This section is subject to the same rules as
section 5, but covers gifts and benefits from overseas rather
than UK sources.
8. Land and Property
The requirement in this section is to register
land or property worth, currently, more than the current parliamentary
salary (other than any home used for the personal residential
purposes of the Member or the Member's spouse or partner) or from
which in aggregate an income in excess of ten per cent of the
parliamentary salary is derived.
9. Registrable shareholdings
In this section Members are required to register
the name of any public or private company or other body in which,
to their knowledge, they have a beneficial interest in a shareholding
(a) of more than fifteen per cent of the issued share capital
or (b) worth more, at the previous 5 April, than the current
10. Miscellaneous and unremunerated
This is a discretionary section for the registration
by Members of interests which do not clearly fall within any of
the above categories but which they consider to fall within the
Register's purpose. In accordance with the nature of the Register
as a record of pecuniary and material interests and the wishes
of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, unremunerated charitable
and voluntary commitments are not, of themselves, registered,
though if a material benefit arises from them, that should be
registered in the appropriate category.
11. Family members employed and remunerated
through the Staffing Allowance
Members should register here the fact that they
employ a family member (by blood or by marriage or a relationship
equivalent to marriage) who is remunerated through the staffing
allowance, with the name of the relative, the nature of the relationship
and the job title appropriate to the employment concerned. The
standard job description and salary range applicable to each job
title can be found annexed to this part of the Register.
The transparency which is the purpose of the Register
is also promoted by the obligation on Members to declare in debates
or proceedings of the House and dealings with other Members, Ministers
or Crown servants, all pecuniary interests or benefits of whatever
nature, including indirect, past and future interests, which are
relevant to the business in hand.
Administrative arrangements and inspection
Under the authority of the Committee on Standards
and Privileges, the Register is published by The Stationery Office
after the beginning of a Parliament and thereafter approximately
once a year. The published Register and its regular updates are
on the Internet and can be accessed as follows:
Select Index; select letter R for Register of Members' Interests.
It is the responsibility of Members to notify changes
in their registrable interests within four weeks of the change
occurring. Between its annual printings the Register is updated
on the web every two weeks when the House is sitting. A print-out
of the internet edition is open for public inspection in the Committee
Office of the House of Commons (Tel: 020 7219 4300). It may be
inspected when the House is sitting between 11 am and 5 pm on
Monday to Thursday and between 11 am and 3 pm on Friday. During
parliamentary recesses, and especially during August, the hours
of inspection are more limited.
Copies of the Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules
relating to the Conduct of Members may be obtained from The Stationery
Office as House of Commons paper no. 351 of Session 2004-05, and
viewed on the Internet at:
Select Index; select C for Code of Conduct.
The website also contains further information about
the rules applying to Members, including the rules covering declaration
and the rule against lobbying for reward or consideration, and
the procedure to be adopted in the event of failure to register.
Any queries about these matters may be addressed, preferably in
writing, to the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards,
House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.
JOHN LYON CB
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
1 Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules relating to
the Conduct of Members, HC (2005-06, 351, paragraph 9 Back
Sixth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, HC,
(2007-80), 383 Back
Tenth report of Committee on Standards & Privileges, HC (2007-08)560 Back
HC (1995-96), HC 688 Back
HC (2001-02), 841 Back
HC (2005-06),351 Back
HC Deb (2007-08), 27 Mar CC 382-394 Back
One exception to this is the the 'Rectification Procedure', endorsed
by the Committee on Standards and Privileges on 30 October 2001,
which allows for a procedure whereby if the interest is minor
or the failure to register or declare inadvertent, and the failure
is admitted, the Commissioner may order an entry to be made in
bold type and accompanied by an explanatory footnote . Back
Until 1 April 2008 the actual figures were £600, £6000
and £60,000; since that date they have been £620, £6200
and £6200. Back
Resolution of the House 6 November 1995, amended on 14 May 2002.
They are similarly required to provide such an agreement if they
provide services in a parliamentary capacity in respect of any
directorship registered in Category 1 Back
For a full list of these exemptions, see paragraph 36 of the Guide
to the Rules Relating to the Conduct of Members Back
Resolution of the House 22 May 1974 Back