Starmer committed “minor” breaches of MPs’ code of conduct, inquiry finds

Elliot Chappell
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Keir Starmer has been found to have committed eight “minor and/or inadvertent” breaches of the MPs’ code of conduct following an inquiry prompted by allegations of the late declaration of earnings and gifts, benefits or hospitality from UK sources.

The investigation by the parliamentary standards commissioner, Kathryn Stone, was opened in June. Starmer said at the time he was “absolutely confident” he had not broken the rules but she found that the leader of the opposition had failed to register eight interests – five more than claimed in the original complaint.

Stone reported that the “breaches were minor and/or inadvertent, and that there was no deliberate attempt to mislead” and the matter should be resolved by way of the “rectification” procedure – rather than a referral to the parliamentary standards committee, which happens with more serious cases.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Keir Starmer takes his responsibilities to the register very seriously and has apologised to the commissioner for this inadvertent error. He has assured the commissioner that his office processes have been reviewed to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

The rectification procedure means that the Labour leader will publish the details of the breaches and an apology on the Commons website.

The original complainant alleged that Starmer failed on three occasions to register income and hospitality he had accepted within the stipulated 28-day window between March 6th and May 13th. The inquiry carried out a review of Starmer’s register entries over the past 12 months and found four additional late entries.

During the investigation, the Labour Party leader also informed the commissioner that he was in the process of selling a piece of land for an amount that exceeded the £100,000 threshold for registration set by the House of Commons.

The failure to register the eight interests was found to have breached “paragraph 14 of the House of Commons’ code of conduct for members of parliament”. The interests included an £18,450 advance for a book Starmer is writing, which Starmer has pledged to donate to charity. The sum was declared one day late.

The Labour leader also received use of a directors’ box for two people at Crystal Palace football club, worth £720, for a match on April 4th. An entry on the register was made on May 5th. He also received four tickets for Watford v Arsenal on March 6th this year, worth a total of £1,416, which were registered on May 6th.

His staff were given tickets by Just Eat for the Taste of London festival and the British Kebab awards. The donation exceeded the £300 limit for registration on on October 29th but were not declared by the Labour leader until December 23rd.

Labour has written to the parliamentary standards commissioner calling for an investigation into a ‘Fizz with Lizz’ event at a private members club in Mayfair, London, in October. Liz Truss failed to declare the event, which cost £3,000 and was paid for by Conservative Party donor Robin Birley.

Deputy Laboour leader Angela Rayner warned: “Liz Truss is corked from the same vintage as Boris Johnson. She thinks the rules don’t apply to her and she can take the British public for fools.

“There must be an urgent investigation into the murky donations made by this millionaire aristocrat and why as Foreign Secretary, she has failed to come clean about them.”

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