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Dining Facilities

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) what guidance has been issued to hon. Members on the use of House dining room facilities for party political fundraising; (75843)

(2) on how many occasions in the last 10 years a booking for dining room (a) A, (b) B, (c) C and (d) D has been refused due to the intention of the sponsor to use the booking for party political fundraising.

The Banqueting Regulations, which are issued to all Members at the time of booking, state that the private dining rooms

“are not to be used for direct financial or material gain by a Sponsor, political party, or any other person or outside organisation”.

The banqueting booking confirmation requires Members to state whether they have a declarable interest relating to their sponsorship of the function and, if the interest is not registered, to provide details. Members in any doubt about the need to register an interest are given further guidance in paragraph 4.4 of the Banqueting Regulations, which states that

“any Sponsor in doubt about the requirements to declare any interest should consult the Parliamentary Commission for Standards”.

Furthermore, the Code of Conduct for Members, as approved by the House on 13 July 2005, provides that:

“Members shall at all times ensure that their use of expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is strictly in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters, and that they observe any limits placed by the House on the use of such expenses, allowances, facilities and services”.

No record is kept of advice provided to Members when enquiring about the use of the private dining rooms, and so there is no record of any booking being refused due to the intention of the sponsor to use the booking for party political fundraising.