REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE JANUARY 2005 EDITION
This edition of the Register, the fourth for
the Parliament elected in June 2001, records Members' Interests
at 28 January 2005. It takes account of recommendations of the
Committee on Standards in Public Life in May 1995 and decisions
of the House of Commons taken in July and November 1995 and May
In July 1996 the House of Commons approved the
publication of a Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament with
a Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members.
The Code and Guide were revised in May 2002 in accordance with
a decision of the House following recommendations of the Committee
on Standards and Privileges in their Ninth Report of Session 2001-02
(HC 763). Together the Code and Guide, which have been circulated
to all Members, set out in detail the rules governing the registration
and declaration of Members' financial interests, and provide guidance
on their application.
The Register was set up following a Resolution
of the House of 22 May 1974. The maintenance of the Register is
one of the principal duties laid on the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards by House of Commons Standing Order No. 150.
Purpose of the Register
The main purpose of the Register is "to
provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material
benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought
by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in
Parliament, or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member
Members are required to keep that overall purpose in mind when
registering their interests.
Content and style of entries
Entries made in the Register aim to give a clear
description of the nature and scope of the interests declared.
However, subject to the Rules, each Member is responsible for
the content and style of his or her own entry.
Members have been required since 1974 to register
their sources of paid outside employment, but until 1995 there
was no requirement to disclose the amounts of remuneration. There
is still no general requirement to register the amounts.
However, the House of Commons resolved on 6 November 1995 that
any Member who has an existing agreement or who proposes to enter
into a new agreement involving the provision of services in
his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament must deposit
it with me in writing. The agreements, which are available for
public inspection, must include the fees or benefits of more than
£575 (1% of a Member's salary) payable, in £5,000 bands,
and these figures are shown in brackets after the Register entries.
A Member is not required to deposit an agreement where he or she
is paid for media work related to his or her parliamentary duties,
but is required to register the amount earned, in the same way.
The rule against lobbying for reward or consideration
Members of Parliament are prohibited from lobbying
on behalf of outside bodies or persons from whom they receive
any form of payment in excess of 1% of their parliamentary salary,
if such lobbying is designed to result in a benefit exclusive
to the body providing the payment. The Guide to the Rules relating
to the Conduct of Members makes it clear that continuing benefits,
ie directorships, other employment and sponsorship, can be divested
to release a Member from the restrictions imposed by this rule,
provided that there is no expectation of renewal. In the case
of any `one-off' benefits such as visits and gifts recorded in
this Register, the rule applies for the period of a year from
registration. The date of registration appears against the benefit.
In their Fourth Report of Session 1997-98,
the Committee on Standards and Privileges confirmed that the same
time limit should apply to single sponsorships.
The categories of registrable interests
The form supplied to Members for the registration
of their interests is divided into ten sections.
1. Remunerated directorships
In this section Members are required to register
any remunerated directorships which they hold in public or private
companies. Members are also required to register directorships
which are unremunerated if the companies are associated with or
subsidiaries of a company in which the Member holds a remunerated
2. Remunerated employment, office, profession
This is the section for registering outside
employment, professions and sources of remuneration not clearly
covered elsewhere in the registration form. This includes membership
of Lloyd's of London; Lloyd's members are required to disclose
the categories of insurance underwritten.
In this section Members are required to disclose
the names of clients (other than companies or organisations already
identified in sections 1 and 2, but including clients of those
companies or organisations) for whom they provide services which
arise out of membership of the House (for example, sponsoring
functions in the parliamentary buildings, making representations
to Government Departments or providing advice on parliamentary
or public affairs).
4. Sponsorship or financial or material
In this section the Member is required to register
(a) any donation of more than £1000 received by a Member's
constituency association which is linked either to candidacy at
an election or to membership of the House; and (b) any other form
of financial or material support as a Member. This includes any
donation in excess of £1000 per year made by an organisation
or company to the Member's constituency party if the donation
is linked directly to the Member's candidacy in the constituency
or to membership of the House. It excludes constituency development
agreements and other arrangements in which the identity of the
Member is not a factor. Like other one-off benefits, entries relating
to contributions to election expenses or to party leadership campaigns
appear in a single edition of the annual printed Register and
are not repeated.
5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (U.K.)
This section is for the registration of any
gift or material advantage received by the Member or the Member's
spouse or partner from a United Kingdom source, which in any way
relates to membership of the House. Tangible gifts and other benefits
over £575 (1% of a Member's salary) in value must be registered.
6. Overseas visits
This section covers overseas visits, made by
Members or their spouses or partners, which relate to or arise
out of membership of the House, where the cost of any such visit
has not been wholly borne by the Member or by United Kingdom public
funds. Several categories of visit, made by Members in the normal
course of their parliamentary duties, are exempted from registration.
These include: visits paid for by, or undertaken on behalf of,
the Government or an international organisation to which the United
Kingdom Government belongs; visits with or on behalf of a Select
Committee of the House; visits undertaken under the auspices of
recognised international parliamentary bodies; visits arranged
and paid for wholly by a Member's own political party; visits
paid for wholly by an institution of the European Community; and
visits as part of an Industry and Parliament Trust fellowship,
the Armed Forces or Police Parliamentary Scheme or the National
Council of Voluntary Organisations MP Secondment Scheme. Here
again, the threshold for registration is £575.
7. Overseas benefits and gifts
This section is subject to the same rules as
section 5, but covers gifts and benefits from overseas rather
than UK sources.
8. Land and property
The requirement in this section is to register
land or property worth more than £57,500 (100% of an MP's
salary) other than any home used for the personal residential
purposes of the Member or the Member's spouse or partneror
from which in aggregate an income in excess of 10% of an MP's
salary (£5,750) is derived, for example holiday homes which
are let for rent or other commercial property or land.
9. Registrable shareholdings
In this section Members are required to register
the name of any public or private company or other body in which,
to their knowledge, they have a beneficial interest in a shareholding
(a) of more than 15% of the issued share capital or (b) a value
of £57, 500 (the current parliamentary salary) at the preceding
5th April. The requirement extends to holdings in which the interest
is held with or on behalf of the Member's spouse or partner or
10. Miscellaneous and unremunerated interests
This is a discretionary section for the registration
by Members of interests which do not clearly fall within any of
the above categories but which they consider to fall within the
Register's purpose. In accordance with the wishes of the Standards
& Privileges Committee and with the Guide to the Rules, unremunerated
charitable and voluntary commitments have not generally been registered.
Administrative arrangements and inspection
Under the authority of the Select Committee
on Standards and Privileges, the Register is published by The
Stationery Office at the beginning of a Parliament and thereafter
approximately once a year. The published Register and its regular
updates are on the Internet and can be accessed as follows:
www.parliament.uk Select Index; select
letter `R' for Register of Members' Interests.
It is the responsibility of Members to notify
my office of changes in their registrable interests within four
weeks of the change occurring. Between its annual printings the
Register is updated in a looseleaf version. The Register is open
for public inspection in the Committee Office of the House of
Commons (Tel: 020 7219 4300). It may be inspected when the House
is sitting between 11 am and 5 pm on Monday to Thursday and between
11 am and 3 pm on Friday. During parliamentary recesses, and especially
during August, the hours of inspection are more limited. A copy
of the Register is also placed in the Library of the House of
Commons for the use of Members.
Copies of the Code of Conduct and Guide to the
Rules relating to the Conduct of Members may be obtained from
The Stationery Office as House of Commons paper no. 841 of Session
2001-2002, and on the Internet at:
www.parliament.uk Select Index; select
`C' for Code of Conduct.
Any complaint about the failure of a Member
of Parliament to register interests or uphold the Code of Conduct
according to the rules of the House of Commons should be made
in writing to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, House
of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
On 30 October 2001 the Committee on Standards
and Privileges endorsed a rectification procedure, for use at
the Commissioner's discretion following a complaint, in the case
of admitted failures to register or declare interests where the
interest involved is minor or the failure to register or declare
was inadvertent. Entries made under this procedure are printed
in bold italic type and accompanied by an explanatory
footnote. The Committee may occasionally itself recommend a similar
entry in respect of cases which it has considered.
SIR PHILIP MAWER
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
1 House of Commons Paper No. 688 (1995-96). Back
First Report of the Select Committee on Members' Interests (1991-92),
para. 27. Back
Fourth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges (1997-98),
House of Commons Paper No. 181. Back