Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
from Mr John Cryer MP
I am writing to you concerning the content of 26
speeches made by 18 Members of the House of Commons. Can I assure
you that I am not in any way seeking to be vexatious in making
these complaints? I am aware of the hearings of the Committee
last week when the issue of vexatious and 'tit for tat' complaints
was raised. I must stress that this is not my intention in submitting
These complaints follow upon publication of the 17th
Report of the Committee of Standards and Privileges. Their report
followed upon your report and dealt with a complaint on a failure
by a Member to declare relevant interests in four manufacturing
companies during various debates between 1992 and 2000. The complainant
in that case specified a number of debates related to "the
economy in general and more specifically to manufacturing industry,
small businesses and exchange rates". The complainant maintained
that the Member's "contributions touched on issues of direct
relevance to" the Member's "business interests and that"
accordingly the Member "ought to have made an appropriate
The complainant then quoted the 1974 Resolution where
it states that a Member is required to disclose:
"Any relevant pecuniary interest or benefit
of whatever nature whether direct or indirect that he may have
had, may have, or may be expected to have".
In your Report under paragraph 46 you stated that:
"The key point in any case is that the companies
represent business interests held by" the Member "which
are affected by economic conditions in general and arguably by
government policy towards small business and the exchange rate
You went on to say later in paragraph 47:
"By contributing to a debate a Member seeks
either to change the law or to influence the Government or the
wider climate of opinion in the House or outside. The House and
public are entitled to know of any financial interests which may
have helped to shape his or her standpoint in the relevant proceeding".
In paragraph 48 you say:
"There was therefore in the spirit of the rules
a presumption in favour of making a declaration in the circumstances"
of the debates listed by the complainant.
In paragraph 50 you went on to list the following
debates in which remarks were made on subjects which related to
the Member's financial interests:
- Help for manufacturing industry
- Capital allowances for manufacturing industry
- Incentives to invest in manufacturing industry
- Late payment of bills to small and large businesses
- Effects of high levels of sterling in manufacturing
In paragraph 61 you upheld the complaint.
With this judgement in mind, I am submitting to you
the 26 complaints referred to relating to speeches made by 18
Members. It seems to me that they are similar in nature and, in
some cases, replicate the case you upheld in paragraph 61 of the
Committee's 17th Report. Whilst they are submitted collectively,
can they be treated as individual complaints?
I am providing them to you under single cover of
correspondence for ease of reference by yourself. They are set
out in the attached document.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
7 March 2001
List of Attachments
Attachment 1: See Hansard, Westminster
Hall, 5 July 2000, cols 43WH-46WH (Mr Clifton-Brown).
Attachment 2: See Hansard, 7 December
2000, col 151 (Mr Clifton-Brown).
Attachment 3: See Hansard, 8 December 2000,
col 310 (Mr Clifton-Brown).
Attachment 4: See Hansard, 24 November 1999,
cols 674-675 (Mr Michael Fallon).
Attachment 5: See Hansard, 23 March 2000,
cols 1153-1159 (Mr Michael Fallon).
Attachment 5A: See Hansard, 7 December 2000,
col 216 (Mr Michael Fallon).
Attachment 6: See Hansard, 21 March 2000,
col 940 (Mr John Hayes).
Attachment 7: See Hansard, 21 March 2000,
cols 888-889 (Sir Michael Spicer).
Attachment 8: See Hansard, 22 March 2000,
cols 1074-1075 (Mr Robert Syms).
21 Not printed. Back