1 Sir John Butterfill|
19. Sir John Butterfill was the Member for Bournemouth
West when he met the undercover reporter on 24 February.
The interview was referred to in the Sunday Times article
of 21 March and parts of it were broadcast in the Dispatches
programme the following evening. Sir John sought to refer
himself to the Commissioner in an e-mail on 22 March and, having
consulted the Committee, the Commissioner accepted the self-referral
on 23 March.
The Commissioner's findings
20. The Commissioner does not consider that any of
the statements made by Sir John during the course of his meeting
with the undercover reporter or any of the actions he took as
a Member referred to in his statements were in breach of the rules
of the House. He
has not, therefore, upheld the allegations against Sir John.
21. The Commissioner's main findings in relation
to Sir John are set out below.
- The Commissioner accepts Sir
John's evidence that he did not make introductions to Ministers
for paying clients when he was a Member. His offer to make such
introductions once he had left the House was not a breach of the
- Sir John had acted as a consultant advising on
government contracts while still a Member but had not been paid
for this work. The
Commissioner accepts Sir John's evidence that his comment that
his Private Members' Bills had been pro bono was not meant
to imply that other such Bills were not pro bono.
- Sir John's comments about his possible elevation
to the House of Lords were "clearly unwise" and "reflected
poorly on him" but they did not reach the level at which
it could be held that he had brought the House into disrepute.
- Sir John used a "colourful" term to
describe actions he had taken to protect constituency interests
but the actions themselves were entirely appropriate.
- Other statements by Sir John to the undercover
reporter referred to work which he might undertake as a former
Member after the Election but there was either no suggestion or
no real prospect that he would undertake such work while still
22. We sent Sir John a copy of the Commissioner's
findings of fact and conclusions. Sir John informed us that he
did not wish to submit evidence.
23. The Commissioner has not upheld the allegations
against Sir John Butterfill. We agree with the Commissioner that
Sir John did not breach the Code or the rules, although we do
consider thatlike the other Membershe was unwise
to agree to the meeting and we believe that some of his comments
were unfortunate. We make no recommendation in this case.
13 Appendix 1, paragraph 46 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 13 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 667 Back
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Appendix 1, paragraphs 660, 661, 664, 665 and 666 Back