Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer guilty of breach of MPs’ code of conduct – commissioner

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Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone launched an inquiry into the Labour leader in June in relation to claims about late declaration of earnings and gifts, benefits or hospitality. Sir Keir said at that time he felt absolutely confident he had not broken the MPs’ code of conduct.

But Ms Stone found the Leader of the Opposition failed to register eight interests, five more than the ones alleged in the original complaint.

She noted the “breaches were minor and/or inadvertent, and that there was no deliberate attempt to mislead”.

As a result, the watchdog decided the inquiry could be concluded by way of the “rectification” procedure, without a referral to the Committee on Standards, which happens in more serious cases.

The procedure involves publishing details and an apology on the Commons website.

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 his office processes have been reviewed to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

In the original complaint made to the commissioner, it was alleged between March 6, 2022 and May 13, 2022, Sir Keir had failed on three occasions to register income and hospitality he had accepted within the 28-day deadline set by the Commons.

The watchdog carried out a review of Sir Keir’s register entry for the last 12 months and noted four extra late entries.

During the investigation, Sir Keir also told Ms Stone he was in the process of selling a plot of land for a sum which exceeded the £100,000 threshold for registration set by the House.

The Commissioner wrote in her report: “Sir Keir said he had been communicating with the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests on this matter, and, having had the land valued in January 2022, and put the land on the market in March 2022, he was waiting for the sale to complete so he could register the correct value.

“I decided to include this matter as part of my inquiry.”

Ms Stone found Sir Keir had failed to register those eight interests and “had breached paragraph 14 of the House of Commons’ Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament”.

More to follow…

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