Keir Starmer Insists No Rules Were Broken As Standards Investigation Launched Into His Earnings And Gifts
Keir Starmer is currently under investigation by the Parliamentary commissioner on standards (Alamy)
Labour leader Keir Starmer has defended his record on transparency after an investigation for alleged breaches of rules on earnings and gifts was launched by the Commons standards commissioner.
A statement on the website of the Parliamentary Commissioner on Standards confirmed an inquiry relating to Starmer was opened on June 8.
It says the matter under investigation is “Registration of interests under Category 1 of the Guide to the Rules (Employment and earnings]”, along with “Registration of interests under Category 3 of the Guide to the Rules [Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources]”.
Starmer has insisted "there's no problem here", and that he is confident he has not broken the MPs' code of conduct.
During a visit to Wakefield on Monday morning he told broadcasters the allegations were not a surprise.
"My office is dealing with it and will be replying in due course," he said, adding he was "absolutely confident, there's no problem here" when asked if he had done anything wrong.
A spokesperson for Starmer said: “Keir Starmer takes his declaration responsibilities very seriously and has already apologised for the fact that administrative errors in his office have led to a small number of late declarations.
"The Standards Commissioner has asked for more information which we are happy to provide.”
It is understood the investigation relates to the late declaration of hospitality such as football tickets and book payments, rather than the non-declaration of anything received by Starmer.
The launch of an inquiry itself does not mean any rules were broken, and once any inquiry has concluded the commissioner Kathryn Stone decides if an MP breached the code of conduct.
If she believes there has been a code breach, her report can be passed to the House of Commons committee on standards to make a recommendation if any sanction is required.
Starmer is currently one of three MPs into whom an investigation is underway. Tory MPs Andrew Bridgen and Chris Philp are also facing an inquiry according to the commissioner's website.
The inquiry into Starmer relates to the section of the MPs' code which states: "Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members' Financial Interests.
"They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its committees, and in any communications with ministers, members, public officials or public office holders."
The detail of the alleged breaches is not yet public, and the Commissioner and her office will not comment on the inquiry until it is completed.
The rules on employment and earnings say MPs must register payments of more than £100 which they receive for work outside the Commons.
Under the section on gifts and hospitality, they must register benefits worth more than £300, or multiple benefits from the same source if they exceed that value in a calendar year.
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