Register of Members' Interests Contents



REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

INTRODUCTION TO THE JANUARY 2001 EDITION

  This edition of the Register, records Members' Interests at 31 January 2001. Each Register since March 1996 has taken account of recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in May 1995 and decisions of the House of Commons taken in July and November 1995.

  In July 1996 the House of Commons approved the publication of a Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament with a Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members.[1] This document, which is circulated to all Members following their election, sets out in detail the rules governing the registration and declaration of Members' financial interests, and provides guidance on their application.

  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.

Purpose of the Register

  The main purpose of the Register is 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 his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament".[2] Members are required to keep that overall purpose in mind when registering their interests.

Form of the Register

  I have continued to take into account the recommendation of the Committee for Standards in Public Life that the entries should be improved to give a clearer description of the nature and scope of the interests declared. Each Member is responsible for the content and style of his or her own entry.

Relevant Remuneration

  Members have been required since 1974 to register their sources of paid outside employment, but until 1995 there was no requirement to disclose the amounts of remuneration. The House of Commons resolved on 6 November 1995 that any Member who has an existing agreement or who proposes to enter into a new agreement involving the provision of services in his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament must deposit it with me in writing. The agreements, which are available for public inspection, must include the fees or benefits payable in bands of up to £1,000, up to £5,000 and thereafter in bands of £5,000, and these figures are shown in brackets after the Register entries.

The advocacy rule

  Members of Parliament are prohibited from engaging in advocacy on behalf of outside bodies or persons from whom they receive payment. The Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members makes it clear that continuing benefits, i.e. directorships, other employment and sponsorship, can be divested to release a Member from the restrictions imposed by this rule, provided that there is no expectation of renewal. In the case of any `one-off' benefits such as visits and gifts recorded in this Register, the advocacy rule applies for the period of a year from registration. The date of registration appears against the benefit. In their Fourth Report of Session 1997-98,[3] the Committee on Standards and Privileges confirmed that the same time limit should apply to single sponsorships.

The categories of registrable interests

  The form supplied to Members for the registration of their interests is divided into ten sections.

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.

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 registration form. This includes membership of Lloyd's of London; Lloyd's members are required to disclose the categories of insurance underwritten.

3.  Clients

  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 which arise out of membership of the House; for example, sponsoring functions in the parliamentary buildings, making representations to Government Departments or providing advice on parliamentary or public affairs.

4.  Sponsorship or financial or material support

  In this section the Member is required to register (a) the source of any contribution to his or her election expenses at a General Election which exceeded 25% of the total and (b) any regular or continuing support from companies or organisations from which the Member receives any financial or material benefit in support of his or her role as a Member of Parliament. This includes any regular donation in excess of £500 per year made by an organisation or company to the Member's constituency party if the donation is linked directly to the Member's candidacy in the constituency or to membership of the House. Like other one-off benefits, entries relating to contributions to election expenses or to party leadership campaigns appear in a single edition of the annual printed Register and are not repeated.

5.  Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)

  This section is for the registration of any gift or material advantage received by the Member or the Member's spouse from a United Kingdom source, which in any way relates to membership of the House. Tangible gifts of over £125 in value and other benefits over £235 in value must be registered.

6.  Overseas visits

  This section covers overseas visits, made by Members or their spouses, which relate to or 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. These include: visits paid for by, or undertaken on behalf of, the Government or an international organisation to which the United Kingdom Government belongs; visits with or on behalf of a Select Committee of the House; visits undertaken under the auspices of recognised international parliamentary bodies; visits arranged and paid for wholly by a Member's own political party; visits paid for wholly by an institution of the European Community; and visits as part of an Industry and Parliament Trust fellowship.

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 any land or property of substantial value, other than any home used solely for the personal residential purposes of the Member or the Member's spouse, for example holiday homes which are let for rent or other commercial property or land.

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 having a nominal (i.e. face) value: (a) greater than 1 per cent of the issued share capital of the company or body, or (b) less than one per cent of the issued share capital but more than £25,000. The letters (a) and (b) are used accordingly in the printed entries. The requirement extends to holdings in which the interest is held by or on behalf of the Member's spouse or dependent children.

10.  Miscellaneous and unremunerated interests

  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.

Administrative arrangements and inspection

  Under the authority of the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges, the Register is published by The Stationery Office at the beginning of a Parliament and thereafter approximately once a year. The published Register and its regular updates are on the Internet at:

  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200001/cmregmem/memi02.htm

  It is the responsibility of Members to notify changes in their registrable interests within four weeks of the change occurring; and between its annual printings the Register is updated, in a looseleaf version. The looseleaf version is open for public inspection in the Registry of Members' Interests, in the Committee Office of the House of Commons (Tel: 020 7219 6614). 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. A copy of the current looseleaf Register is also placed in the Library of the House of Commons for the use of Members.

  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. 688 of Session 1995-96, and on the Internet at:

  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199697/cmselect/cmstand/688/codefc.htm

Complaints

  Any complaint about the failure of a Member of Parliament to register interests or uphold the Code of Conduct according to the rules of the House of Commons should be made to me in writing at the House of Commons, London SW1A OAA, or by e-mail: mail to: [email protected]

ELIZABETH FILKIN
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


1   House of Commons Paper No. 688 (1995-96). Back

2   First Report of the Select Committee on Members' Interests (1991-92), para. 27. Back

3   Fourth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges (1997-98), House of Commons Paper No. 181. Back


 
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Prepared 14 May 2001