Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventh Report


SEVENTH REPORT

The Committee on Standards and Privileges has agreed to the following Report:—

COMPLAINT AGAINST MR KEN LIVINGSTONE

1.We have considered a memorandum by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards relating to the complaint by Mr J C Jones of Shepshed, Leicestershire, against Mr Ken Livingstone, Member for Brent East. The Commissioner's memorandum is appended to this Report.

2. We agree with the Commissioner's report and with her conclusions, which were—

    (i)  that Mr Livingstone should have made a comprehensive entry in the Register to cover all the services—speaking engagements as well as writing and media work— he provides through his company Localaction Ltd. His new Register entry shows that he uses the company to contract campaigners and researchers;

    (ii)  that the Rules require Mr Livingstone to register, in appropriate bands, the remuneration which he receives through Localaction from each company to which he regularly provides services, as a journalist, visiting speaker, &c., in his capacity as a Member of Parliament; and that he should have done so for The Independent, Prime Performers, Speakers for Business, Interphiz, JLA, CSA, Diana Boulter, Norman Phillips and Right Address;

    (iii)  that Mr Livingstone was also required to deposit with the Commissioner employment agreements with those employers from the point at which he began to provide those services regularly; and

    (iv)  that Mr Livingstone should have made a separate Register entry for his Evening Standard column.

3. Mr Livingstone sought the guidance of the then Commissioner about his interest in Localaction in a letter dated 8 August 1996, in which he referred to earnings from Socialist Economic Bulletin, radio and television appearances and articles written for newspapers and magazines. He did not refer to speaking engagements. The Commissioner, in his reply dated 2 September 1996, asked Mr Livingstone to confirm that his activities "under the umbrella of Localaction do not involve regular paid commitments arising from membership of the House, for which employment agreements might be necessary". Mr Livingstone, in his response of 4 September 1996, said "My other activities are all one off after dinner speeches, or articles for papers. Nothing is on a regular basis ...".[13] (Emphasis added.)

4. By 1998-99 Mr Livingstone was carrying out paid speaking engagements for a number of clients on a significant commercial scale. Many of these could be seen as amounting to frequent, as opposed to merely occasional, commitments arising from membership of the House. He was providing regular articles for The Independent and the Evening Standard. As the assurances he had given the Commissioner in 1996 no longer held good, he should have put in a new entry as soon as necessary identifying the clients for whom he was providing regular services and indicating, in appropriate bands, the fees he was receiving. He should also have deposited employment agreements.

5. Mr Livingstone has informed the Commissioner that Localaction's income between June 1998 and February 2000 amounted to £220,992, of which £158,599 was attributable to regular commitments which ought to have been registered.[14] Mr Livingstone's failure to make an appropriate entry in the Register left the reader of the Register wholly unaware of the scale of Mr Livingstone's earnings from these sources.

6. Mr Livingstone had to register regular commitments of the kind he undertook. He should have sought and taken further advice when his circumstances changed. Mr Livingstone knew he had to register regular commitments, as his letter to the Commissioner of 4 September 1996 indicates. It is surprising that, in view of the sums he subsequently earned from regular activities which could reasonably be thought to arise directly from his membership of the House, Mr Livingstone did not consider that they were registrable.

7. Mr Livingstone's Register entry needs to include, under Category 2 (Remunerated office, employment, profession, etc.), the employers listed in paragraph 2(ii) above. He has to deposit employment agreements where necessary.

8. Mr Livingstone has accepted the Commissioner's advice about the separate registration of his sources of income from regular speaking and regular articles and the deposit of employment agreements. He has co-operated fully with the Commissioner and the Committee throughout the inquiry. He is in the process of depositing the employment agreements. He has rectified and amended his entry in the Register, which currently reads as follows:

    "LIVINGSTONE, Ken (Brent East)

      1.  Remunerated directorships

        Localaction Ltd. (Company formed to cover the publication of Socialist Economic Bulletin and my other writing, media work, speeches, lectures. Contracts researchers and campaigners on my behalf.)

      2.  Remunerated employment, office, profession etc

        Column in The Independent (£15,001-£20,000)

        Restaurant column in the Evening Standard.

        Contract with Victor Gollancz for book publication.

        Article for The Observer.

        I carry out regular speaking engagements for the following agencies:

          Speakers for Business (£30,001-£35,000)

          Prime Performers (£1,001-£5,000)

          Interphiz (£5,001-£10,000)

          Norman Phillips (£1,001-£5,000)

          Right Address (£1,001-£5,000)

          JLA (£10,001-£15,000)

          CSA (£5,001-£10,000)

          Diana Boulter (£10,001-£15,000)

      3.  Clients

        Of the agencies listed above:

          London Processing Centre

          Card Connections

          Miller Freeman UK

          Heart of England Tec

          GCI Focus

          McCann Ericson

          PSI Group

          Institute of Directors

          Ford Fleet Managers

          Prime User Group

          Centra Business Services

          Staffs Chartered Accountants

          Ernst & Young

          Pagoda

          Association of Surveyors

          Comdisco Group

          Stakis Brighton

          Opus Holidays

          Marquee

          Price Waterhouse

          Chase de Vere

          West Coast Publishing

          Garden Manufacturers

          Motor Retailers

          Erith Group

          Oxford Union Economics Association (Hays Personnel)

          Marcam Solutions User Group

          Association of Public House Suppliers

          Global Real Estate Institute

          F4 Group Agency

          Norwood Ravenswood Homes

          OSI

        Single speaking engagements for Localaction Ltd.:

          Herts Chamber of Commerce

          Bates Borland Agency

          Parliamentary Communications Ltd

          National Sporting Club

          Creative Concepts Agency

          Insolvency Lawyers

          Placemakers Agency

          Association of Project Managers

          Student conferences

      4.  Sponsorship or financial or material support

        Temporary research, administrative and legal assistance provided by the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals, in connection with my Private Member's Bill.

      6.  Overseas visits

        *23-25 January 1999, to Paris, accompanied by my partner, to speak at a student seminar 'Your Future in Europe', organised by European Study Tours of London, who paid for our travel by Eurostar and two nights' accommodation. (Registered 4 March 1999)

      9.  Registrable shareholdings

        (a)  Localaction Ltd."

9. Mr Livingstone breached the rules on registration of interests and did not observe the principle of openness which the Code of Conduct requires. In view of the scale of the payments and the period of time over which they increased, we recommend that Mr Livingstone should make an apology to the House by means of a personal statement.

10. The Guide to the Rules as it relates to the registration of fees received by Members from newspaper articles, broadcasting appearances, speaking engagements, &c., should be read together with the guidance for Members which is set out below.

11. The advice which is given to Members at present is that fees of £500 or less may be registered as "occasional fees" for journalism, &c., as the case may be, in Category 2 (Remunerated office, employment, profession, etc.), unless the Member wishes to register them individually. When fees of more than £500 are received, either singly or cumulatively, from a single source, the events giving rise to the payment should be registered individually, and the source of the payment should be specified. In the case of any fees which are paid to a company, rather than directly to the Member, the person or organisation paying the fee should be registered under Category 3 (Clients) as a client of the company if not registered under Category 2.

12. The effect of the guidance given in the previous paragraph is shown in the Table.

Table

Fee of £1-£500
paid to Member
—registrable as remuneration under Category 2

either source to be identified or registered as "occasional fees for [broadcasting and journalism]"
Fee of £1-£500
paid to Member's company
—directorship registrable under Category 1 and shareholding under Category 9

— nature of the company's business to be registered
Fee of over £500
paid to Member
—registrable as remuneration under Category 2

—event and source to be identified
Fee of over £500
paid to Member's company
—directorship registrable under Category 1 and shareholding under Category 9

—nature of company's business to be registered

—source of payment to be registered as a client under Category 3


  13. If any employment "involves the provision of services in the capacity of a Member of Parliament", a figure for remuneration (in bands) should also be given, and an employment agreement should be deposited with the Commissioner.

14. A figure for remuneration and an employment agreement are required in respect of regular commitments in the fields of journalism, broadcasting, speaking or lecturing, unless the subject of the Member's writing, &c., is wholly unrelated to parliamentary or public affairs.[15]


13  Appendix 1, Annex B. Back

14  Appendix 1, paras. 9 and 10. Back

15  Paras. 35-6 of The Guide to the RulesBack


 
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