REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE JANUARY 2000 EDITION
This edition of the Register records Members'
Interests at 31 January 2000. Each Register since March 1996 has
taken 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.
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.
This document, which is circulated to all Members following their
election, sets out in detail the rules governing the registration
and declaration of Members' financial interests, and provides
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 of Parliament.
Members are required to keep that overall purpose in mind when
registering their interests.
Form of the Register
I have continued to take into account the recommendation
of the Committee for Standards in Public Life that the entries
should be improved to give a clearer description of the nature
and scope of the interests declared. 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. 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 payable in bands of up to £1,000,
up to £5,000 and thereafter in bands of £5,000, and
these figures are shown in brackets after the Register entries.
In his introduction to the first Register of the new Parliament,
my predecessor noted that the number of commitments of this kind
undertaken by Members had fallen by some two-thirds compared with
the Register published in March 1996, when the new rule came into
force. The position has not changed significantly since then.
The advocacy rule
Members of Parliament are prohibited from engaging
in advocacy on behalf of outside bodies or persons from whom they
receive payment. The Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct
of Members makes it clear that continuing benefits, i.e. 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
advocacy 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 support
In this section the Member is required to register
(a) the source of any contribution to his or her election expenses
at the last Election which exceeded 25% of the total and (b) any
regular or continuing support from companies or organisations
from which the Member receives any financial or material benefit
in support of his or her role as a Member of Parliament. This
includes any regular donation in excess of £500 per year
made by an organisation or company to the Member'sconstituency
party if the donation is linked directly to the Member's candidacy
in the constituency or to membership of the House. Like other
one-off benefits, entries relating to contributions to election
expenses or to party leadership campaigns appear in a single published
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
from a United Kingdom source, which in any way relates to membership
of the House. Tangible gifts of over £125 in value and other
benefits over £235 in value must be registered.
6. Overseas visits
This section covers overseas visits, made by Members
or their spouses, 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.
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 U.K.
8. Land and property
The requirement in this section is to register any
land or property of substantial value, other than any home used
solely for the personal residential purposes of the Member or
the Member's spouse, 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
having a nominal (i.e. face) value: (a) greater than 1 per cent
of the issued share capital of the company or body, or (b) less
than 1 per cent of the issued share capital but more than £25,000.
The letters (a) and (b) are used accordingly in the printed entries.
The requirement extends to holdings in which the interest is held
by or on behalf of the Member's spouse or dependent children.
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
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 at:
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 in a looseleaf version. The looseleaf version is open
for public inspection in the Registry of Members' Interests, in
the Committee Office of the House of Commons (Tel: 020 7219 6614).
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 current looseleaf
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. 735, and on
the Internet at:
Any complaint about the failure of a Member
of Parliament to register interests according to the rules of
the House of Commons should be made to me in writing at the House
of Commons, London SW1A OAA, or by
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