Annex A: Letter from Mr John Cook to the
Registrar of Lords' Interests, 13 September 2011|
Possible Breach of the House of Lords Code of
I have recently had passed to me Lord Avebury's Declaration
of Interests and I was surprised by what I perceived to be certain
omissions. As a consequence I feel it is my duty to refer the
matter to you as it seems to me to conflict in many respects with
the "Code of Conduct" expected of members of the House
I would appreciate any help and guidance you can
give me in this matter. As a matter of courtesy I have copied
this letter to Lord Avebury's Solicitors.
I will set out the situation as I see it (having
full regard to the "Peers Code of Conduct") and based
on Lord Avebury's Statutory Declaration of Interests.
Under the following headings he states:
He declares a controlling interest in a limited company
and states in brackets (computer hardware and software; provides
management advice to a partnership (without further description)
in which it has a 50% interest).
He does not mention the fact that it is a two-man
partnership which derives most of its income from waste disposal
into a landfill site and of which the partnership is the beneficial
owner. This is, as far as I am aware, his major source of income
and in one year recently provided him with £400,000 although
it probably now averages in excess of £150,000 p.a. This
information is not mentioned in his declaration. Neither, at this
moment in time, is it possible to ascertain that his Parliamentary
claim for expenses is being in any way duplicated through the
expenses claimed from his limited company. There is no evidence
one way or the other.
Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.
He declares his profession as being an 'Engineer'
(non-practising). No mention again of his true Remunerated employment.
Land & Property
He simply declares 390 acres of arable land. He makes
no reference to the fact that it is fully leased by him, to the
company of which he is a partner at an annual rent of £23,716
increasing with the RPI each year.
He does not mention that this in turn is leased by
the Partnership to a national waste management company and that
it comprises a large Landfill waste site, a waste disposal operation,
a recycling plant, large scale stone and mineral extraction, an
energy from waste plant and other ancillary activities connected
to the waste industry. This currently provides the income, I have
drawn your attention to, under "Directorships" and shows
his total income from the waste industry to be approaching £200,000
Relying simply on his "Statutory Declaration
of Interests", it would be difficult for anyone, to be able
to discover or ascertain, that he has a substantial interest in,
and, derives a massive income from, the Waste Industry. There
doesn't appear to be any clue whatsoever to this fact. Consequently
from his Statutory Declaration he could conceivably, present himself
as a champion of all matters environmental without anyone having
the slightest suspicion of, or being able to ascertain what some
may see as an apparent conflict of interest (and in the general
public's eyes, the possible hypocrisy of it).
I would welcome your view, on my supposition that
such a case, however one looks at it, might be construed as being
tantamount to an attempt to mislead both Parliament and the general
public at large as to his true outside interests.
I should also add that although the waste industry
is a much maligned activity, it is one that I have been proud
to be associated with for over 40 years. For a Peer to hide from
the general public, for whatever reason, his own connection with
the industry, does a great disservice to those who strive so
hard, on no more than average wages, to maintain this important