The Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 1
As at 6th September 2010
REGISTER OF MEMBERS' FINANCIAL INTERESTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE SEPTEMBER 2010 EDITION
This edition of the Register of Members' Financial Interests is the first to be published for the Parliament elected in May 2010, and is up to date as at 6 September 2010. The information it contains is identical to that included in the internet version of the Register of the same date.
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. 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.
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, July 2005, March 2008 and February and April 2009.
On 1 January 2010 the threshold for registering donations, that is Category 4 entries, changed as a result of an amendment to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), from £1000 to £1500. As a result, certain donations made in 2009 appear on the Register, whereas donations of the identical amount made in 2010 do not appear. This difference will disappear within the next few months as old entries are removed from the Register.
While the obligation to register outside employment, sponsorship, property and shareholdings is absolute, in respect of gifts and other benefits the requirement is to register only 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 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.
Financial thresholds continue to apply in the case of certain categories. In the case of interests registered under Category 1 (Directorships), 2 (Remunerated employment, office or occupation) and 3 (Clients) no financial threshold applies. In the case of Categories 5 (Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)), 6 (Overseas visits) and 7 (Overseas benefits and gifts) the threshold over which an interest must be registered is one per cent of the annual parliamentary salary. In the case of Category 8 (Land and Property), property with a capital value of more than a hundred per cent of the annual parliamentary salary, and rental income worth more than ten per cent of that sum are registrable. For Category 9 (Shareholdings) the threshold is 15% of the issued share capital of the company or a hundred per cent of the annual parliamentary salary. Categories 4 (Sponsorships) and 10 (Controlled transactions within the meaning of Schedule 7A of PPERA not otherwise recorded in the Register) the threshold is now £1500 but was £1000 before 1 January 2010. In the case of Category 12 (Family members employed and remunerated through parliamentary allowances), registration is required if a family member is paid in a year a sum equal to more than 1% of the annual parliamentary salary.
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 Register.
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 twelve categories.
1. Remunerated directorships
In this section Members are required to register any remunerated directorships 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. Members must register the precise amount of each individual payment received, the nature of the work done, the amount of time spent on the work covered by the payment and (unless legal or established professional privilege applies) the name and address of the person, organisation or company making the payment. In certain circumstances, a salary band and an agreement for the provision of service are also required (see Category 2 below).
2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.
This is the section for registering outside employment, professions and sources of remuneration not clearly covered elsewhere in the Register. Members must register the precise amount of each individual payment received, the nature of the work done, the amount of time spent on the work covered by the payment and (unless legal or established professional privilege applies) the name and address of the person, organisation or company making the payment. The appearance of a salary band after an entry indicates that the Member is providing ‘services in the capacity of a Member of Parliament'. In such cases, with the exception of speaking or writing engagements, Members must also deposit with the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, for public inspection, and reproduction, if required, an 'agreement for the provision of services'. Such agreements must include an undertaking that the Member will not be expected to engage in any form of advocacy as defined in the Resolution of the House of Commons of 6th November 1995.
In this section Members are required to register clients (other than companies or organisations already identified in sections 1 and 2, but including clients of those companies or organisations) for whom they personally provide services. Members must register the precise amount of each individual payment received, the nature of the work done, the amount of time spent on the work covered by the payment and (unless legal or established professional privilege applies) the name and address of the person, organisation or company making the payment.
4. Sponsorship or financial or material support
In this section Members are required to register any donation of more than £1,000 (if made before 1 January 2010) or more than £1500 (if made since that date) in the course of a calendar year received by the constituency party or association or relevant grouping of associations which is linked either to their candidacy at an election or to their membership of the House (Category 4a). 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 or candidate'. The obligation to register does not apply to arrangements in which the identity of the candidate or Member is not a factor. Members are also required to register any other form of financial or material support as a Member (Category 4b). Members are required to register the name and address of the donor, the amount or value, and the status of the donor. In the case of Category 4b donations they must also register the dates on which the donation was received and accepted.
5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (U.K.)
This section is for the registration of any gift or material benefit received from a United Kingdom source, which in any way relates to membership of the House or to a Member’s political activity. Tangible gifts or other benefits worth more than 1% of the parliamentary salary in value must be registered. The value must be given, with the date of receipt and acceptance and the status of the donor. Members must register gifts and benefits from the same source in the same calendar year which cumulatively are of a value greater that the threshold even if each single gift or benefit is of lesser value.
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. Visits costing less than 1% of the annual parliamentary salary are not registrable. Members must give the name and address of the donor, the amount of the donation or an estimate of the value, and the destination, date and purpose of the visit. 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.
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 100% of the 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 10% 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 they have a beneficial interest in a shareholding (a) of more than 15% of the issued share capital or (b) worth more than 100% of the parliamentary salary at the preceding 5 April.
10. Controlled transactions within the meaning of Schedule 7A PPERA, not otherwise recorded in the Register
Loans and credit arrangements entered into in relation to a Member’s political activities should be registered here. The thresholds are as for Category 4.
This is a section for the registration by Members of interests, including unremunerated 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.
12. Family members employed and remunerated through parliamentary allowances
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 parliamentary allowances, with the name of the relative, the nature of the relationship and the job title. Information related to such employment is annexed to this part of the Register.
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:
www.parliament.uk Select Index; select letter R for Registers of 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 roughly every two weeks when the House is sitting.
Free internet access to the Register is available in the Search Room, Parliamentary Archives, London SW1A OPW, by appointment only (tel. 020 7219 3074), between 9.30 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday (closed on Bank Holidays and the last two weeks in November).
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. 735 of Session 2008-09, and viewed on the Internet at:
www.parliament.uk Select Index; select C for Code of Conduct.
The website also contains further information about the rules applying to Members, the procedure to be adopted in the event of complaints of failure to register, the rules covering declaration and the rule against lobbying for reward or consideration. 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