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Point of Order: Rectification Procedure

Volume 559: debated on Thursday 28 February 2013

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In March 2011 I accepted an invitation to Cheltenham races from Ladbrokes, which I properly and accurately registered in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. However, I failed to refer to my entry in the register when I tabled three parliamentary questions on problem gambling, when I led an Adjournment debate on problem gambling, and during an inquiry into the Gambling Act 2005 held by the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, on which I serve and to which the chief executive of Ladbrokes gave evidence. A complaint was subsequently made to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. All other complaints made by the person concerned were dismissed.

As soon as I was made aware of the complaint, I told the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards that I believed that I should have referred to my entry on those occasions. My failure to do so was due not to a desire to conceal it—if that had been my motivation, I would not have registered my interest in the first place—but to an oversight, as I had forgotten about it. I offer that not as an excuse, Mr Speaker, because there is no excuse, but merely as an explanation. As soon I was aware of the complaint, I also apologised to the Select Committee, and offered to resign from it if any one of its members felt that I had acted improperly. I am very grateful to them all for accepting that mine had been a genuine error, and for saying that they did not believe that any impropriety had taken place.

I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this benefit had no influence on my questions or speeches, or on the work or conclusions of the Select Committee, whose report was agreed unanimously. The Registrar for Members’ Financial Interests said in her letter:

“I should emphasise that there is no suggestion that Mr Davies’ behaviour was in fact influenced.”

Nevertheless, it was my duty to refer to my entry in the register on those occasions, and I failed to do so. It was therefore only right for me to take the earliest possible opportunity to apologise to you, Mr Speaker, and to the whole House. I hope that you and the House will accept my sincere apology for what was a genuine error.

I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:

HGV Road User Levy Act 2013

Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013

European Union (Approvals) Act 2013

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

Prisons (Property) Act 2013

Canterbury City Council Act 2013

Leeds City Council Act 2013

Nottingham City Council Act 2013

Reading Borough Council Act 2013