Starmer facing sleaze crisis as THREE Labour MPs now braced for probe
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Keir Starmer is facing a crisis as his own MPs are being pulled into the sleaze scandal which has been engulfing Westminster in recent months. Two more Labour MPs may be probed by the Parliamentary standards commissioner after a potential breach of lobbying rules.
Shadow Foreign Minister Catherine West and Labour backbencher Charlotte Nichols are referring themselves to the commissioner, the Sun has been told.
This comes just two days after Shadow Culture Minister Alex Davies-Jones came under investigation for an alleged breach of the MP’s code of conduct.
She praised the British Council just weeks after the organisation paid for her to go to Tokyo.
The trip was valued at nearly £3,000.
On November 8, the day after returning, she praised the Council’s “brilliant work” in “educating people in our English language and using our arts and culture for the greatest good”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Davies-Jones asked Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan: “What more can the Government do to support the British Council, not just in Japan, but across the world?”
Ms West and Ms Nichols, who were on the same trip to Japan, also praised the organisation in the House of Commons.
They were approached by the Sun, which has since been told that the MPs have now referred themselves to Daniel Greenberg, Parliament’s ethics chief.
It is against MP’s rules for them to lobby for an outside company from which they benefit.
MPs who receive a payment or other benefits like gifts must not use their position to benefit the company which gave it to them.
Breaching strict rules around lobbying can lead to a suspension in the Commons.
The Conservative Party has faced increasing allegations of “sleaze” after a number of its MPs were found to be in breach of the rules.
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Tory MP Owen Paterson resigned last year after he was found to have broken lobbying rules.
In November, Andrew Bridgen was suspended from the Commons after having been found to have breached the MPs’ code of conduct.
An investigation found he made multiple approaches to ministers and public officials on behalf of Mere Plantations, a Cheshire-based teak reforestation company with forests in Ghana for which he was initially paid £12,000 a year as an adviser.
He failed to register his interest in the company in the timeframe stipulated by the code, with the committee saying he had a “very cavalier” attitude to the rules.
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