REGISTER OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE NOVEMBER 2001 EDITION
This edition of the Register, the first for
the Parliament elected in June 2001, records Members' Interests
at 26 November 2001. 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
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.
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 a General 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's constituency
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 edition
of the annual printed Register and are not repeated.
5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)
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 £250 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 UK sources.
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 one 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 the Member on behalf of the Member's spouse or dependent children,
but not to holdings in which the interest is held separately by
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. Once the register has been published at the
beginning of a new Parliament it is updated, in a looseleaf version,
approximately once a month; it is also printed annually. 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. 688 of Session
1995-96, and on the Internet at:
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 OAA.
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
1 House of Commons Paper No. 688 (1995-96). Back
2 First Report of the Select Committee on Members' Interests (1991-92), para. 27. Back
3 Fourth Report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges (1997-98),
House of Commons Paper No. 181. Back