REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE MARCH 2007 EDITION
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".
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.
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
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
and revised in May 2002
and July 2005.
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
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.
Interests are registered under the following ten
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
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',
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
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
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 e-politix.com
access to political monitoring service provided by DeHavilland
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
www.parliament.uk 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:
www.parliament.uk Select Index; select R for Code
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.
SIR PHILIP MAWER
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
Resolution of the House, 22 May 1974 Back
HC (1995-96) HC 688 Back
HC (2001-02), 841. Back
HC (2005-06) 351. Back
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
Resolution of the House, 6 November 1995, amended on 14 May 2002. Back
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
For a full list of these exemptions, see paragraph 36 of the Guide
to the Rules relating to the conduct of Members. Back