A report has been published today by the Standards Committee following an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards into complaints made about me. I am grateful to the commissioner for her thorough, courteous and professional work and her report, and to the Chair of the Committee, its members and Clerk for dealing with this matter in a very fair and efficient way. I accept entirely their conclusions.
From the beginning I believed that I had not breached the lobbying rules and I am grateful and relieved that the commissioner and the Committee have rejected those complaints. The Committee has found that there was no attempt to conceal any donations, which were all reported to the Electoral Commission and in the public domain, but that I failed to register in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests some donations to my local party; that I failed to make declarations in debate, and in connection with one meeting, in relation to two of those donations; and that I registered two donations late. I have, of course, admitted my mistakes and apologised from the outset to the commissioner and to the Committee.
Although the commissioner found that none of these breaches of the rules was intentional, I accept entirely the findings of the commissioner and the Committee that I was not as attentive to these matters or as careful as I should have been, and therefore in those ways failed properly to observe the code of conduct, and that I did not sufficiently seek advice from the registrar. I will immediately register the outstanding interests as the Committee recommends. I take full responsibility for these failures and I apologise unreservedly to the House.