Register of Members' Interests Contents



This edition of the Register of Members' Interests is the second to be published for the parliament elected in May 2005, and is up to date as at 26 March 2007.

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.

The purpose of the Register is to encourage transparency, and through transparency, accountability. It 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 the capacity of a Member of Parliament"[1]. The Register is not intended to be an indicator of a Member's personal wealth; nor is registration of an interest in any way an indication that a Member is at fault.

Transparency is also promoted by the obligation on Members to declare in debates or proceedings of the House and dealings with other Members, Ministers or Crown servants, all pecuniary interests or benefits of whatever nature, including indirect, past and future interests, which are relevant to the business in hand[2].

While the obligation to register outside employment, sponsorship, property and shareholdings is absolute, in respect of other gifts and benefits the requirement is only to register those interests which in any way arise out of membership of the House. Consonant with this principle, the interests of spouses, partners and dependent children are registrable only if they arise out of their relative's position as a Member, or if they are held jointly with the Member or by the Member on behalf of the other party.

The interests which are to be registered are set out in the "Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members", first agreed in July 1996[3] and revised in May 2002[4] and July 2005[5].

The financial thresholds over which an interest must be registered are mainly based, for convenience, on percentages of an MP's salary: one per cent or currently £600 for employment, gifts and hospitality; ten per cent or £6,000 for rental income; and a hundred per cent or £60,000 for property and shares. The exception is sponsorship, where the threshold has been set at £1,000 to match that set for registration with the Electoral Commission.

Continuing interests such as employment or property remain on the Register until the Member asks for them to be removed. 'One-off' benefits such as gifts, visits and donations appear with their date of registration and remain on the Register for a year from that date and until they have appeared in one printed Register.

Entries made in the Register aim to give a clear description of the nature and scope of the interests declared. Subject to the Rules, however, each Member is responsible for the content and style of his or her own entry[6].

Interests are registered under the following ten categories.

1.  Remunerated directorships

    In this section Members are required to register any remunerated directorships, paying them more than £600 a year, 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 directorship.

2.  Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

    This is the section for registering outside employment, professions and sources of remuneration (of more than £600 a year) not clearly covered elsewhere in the registration form. Members are not expected to register the amount of their earnings except where they are 'providing services in the capacity of a Member of Parliament'[7], for example making representations to government departments, providing advice on parliamentary or public affairs or sponsoring functions in parliamentary buildings. In such cases they must register the amount of their earnings within bands of £5,000 and, with the exception of speaking or writing engagements, must also deposit for public inspection an 'agreement for the provision of services'[8].

3.  Clients

    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 in the capacity of a Member of Parliament'.

4.  Sponsorship or financial or material support

    In this section the Member is required to register any donation of more than £1,000 received by the constituency association which is linked either to candidacy at an election or to membership of the House, and also any other form of financial or material support as a Member. A 'linked' donation is defined as one 'expressly tied to the Member by name eg if it is a contribution to the Member's fighting fund or a donation which has been solicited or encouraged by the Member'. The obligation to register does not apply to constituency development agreements and other arrangements in which the identity of the Member is not a factor.

5.  Gifts, benefits and hospitality (U.K.)

    This section is for the registration of any gift or material advantage received from a United Kingdom source, which in any way relates to membership of the House. Tangible gifts and other benefits over £600 in value must be registered.

    A number of benefits are offered to all Members, or to all Members within a particular geographical area. The Guide to the Rules specifies that gifts and benefits known to be available to all Members need not be registered, and the Committee on Standards and Privileges has ruled that this exemption should include benefits made available to certain Members on a geographical basis.

    Among such regionally or generally available benefits, those which are currently known to be, or potentially to be, of registrable value are:

      web-site design and maintenance by
      access to political monitoring service provided by DeHavilland
      (deHavilland Engage)
      First Great Eastern Trains station car park passes
      Thameslink Trains station car park passes
      Southwest Trains station car park passes
      (restricted to use on parliamentary business)
      Airline privilege cards

    Such benefits are not required to be registered.

    Not all Members take up these benefits when they are offered, and those who do use them to varying extents.

6.  Overseas visits

    This section covers overseas visits, made by Members or their spouses or partners, which in any way 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. For the most part these are visits paid for from UK public funds or by a Member's own political party[9]. Here again, the threshold for registration is currently £600.

    Where a fee is received for an engagement abroad and travel and accommodation are also paid the item is usually entered under Category 2.

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, currently, more than £60,000 (other than any home used for the personal residential purposes of the Member or the Member's spouse or partner) or from which in aggregate an income in excess of £6,000 is derived.

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) worth more than £60,000 at the preceding 5th April.

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 nature of the Register as a record of pecuniary and material interests and the wishes of the Standards & Privileges Committee, unremunerated charitable and voluntary commitments are not, of themselves, registered, though if a material benefit arises from them, that should be registered in the appropriate category.

Administrative arrangements and inspection

Under the authority of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, the Register is published by The Stationery Office after 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: Select Index; select letter R for Register of Members' Interests.

It is the responsibility of Members to notify changes in their registrable interests within four weeks of the change occurring; and between its annual printings the Register is updated every two weeks (when the House is sitting), both in a looseleaf version and on the Web. The looseleaf version 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.

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. 351 of Session 2004-05, and viewed on the Internet at: Select Index; select R for Code of Conduct.

The website also contains further information about the rules applying to Members, the procedure to be adopted in the event of complaints of failure to register and the rule against lobbying for reward or consideration. Any queries about these matters may be addressed, preferably in writing, to the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

1   Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members, HC (2005-06), 351, paragraph 9. Back

2   Resolution of the House, 22 May 1974 Back

3   HC (1995-96) HC 688 Back

4   HC (2001-02), 841. Back

5   HC (2005-06) 351. Back

6   The 'Rectification Procedure', endorsed by the Committee on Standards and Privileges on 30 October 2001, allows for a procedure whereby if the interest is minor or the failure to register or declare inadvertent, and the failure is admitted, the Commissioner may order an entry to be made in bold type and accompanied by an explanatory footnote. Back

7   Resolution of the House, 6 November 1995, amended on 14 May 2002. Back

8   They are similarly required to provide such an agreement if they provide services in a parliamentary capacity in respect of any directorship registered in Category 1. Back

9   For a full list of these exemptions, see paragraph 36 of the Guide to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members. Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 26 March 2007