3 Ms Patricia Hewitt|
32. Ms Hewitt was the Member for Leicester West when
she met the undercover reporter on 9 March.
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. Ms Hewitt sought to refer
herself to the Commissioner in an e-mail on 22 March but the Commissioner
received a complaint against her from the Member for Putney, Justine
Greening, later the same day.
The Commissioner accepted the complaint for investigation on 23
The Commissioner's findings
33. The Commissioner has not upheld any of the allegations
against Ms Hewitt, although he concludes that some of her statements
raise wider issues about the House's rules.
34. The Commissioner's main findings in relation
to Ms Hewitt are set out below.
- Ms Hewitt described five ways
in which Ministers can be lobbied, but there is no suggestion
she had engaged in such activity herself and she was not, therefore,
in breach of the rules.
- Ms Hewitt gave advice about how to remove a regulation
and how to change or influence legislation but this was in the
context of what might happen after the General Election and was
not in breach of the rules.
- Ms Hewitt spoke about her regular contacts with
civil servants but such evidence as there is does not support
a conclusion that these contacts were improper.
- In the meeting with the undercover reporter,
Ms Hewitt inadvertently exaggerated the effects of her consultancy
role on behalf of Partnerships in Care (PiC) but she took the
necessary steps to ensure that her work for PiC did not breach
- Ms Hewitt also took the necessary steps to ensure
that her work for a private equity firm, Cinven, did not breach
the rules; her claim to the undercover reporter that she had spoken
to officials on behalf of the firm was mistaken and a "minor
slip." She properly
registered the payments she received for her work for Cinven.
35. We sent Ms Hewitt a copy of the Commissioner's
findings of fact and conclusions. Ms Hewitt informed us that she
did not wish to submit evidence.
36. The Commissioner has not upheld the allegations
against Patricia Hewitt. We agree with the Commissioner that Ms
Hewitt did not breach the Code or the rules, although we do consider
thatlike the other Membersshe was unwise to agree
to the meeting. We make no recommendation in this case.
38 Appendix 1, paragraph 307 Back
Appendix 1, paragraphs 9 and 10 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 692. The wider issues are considered in
the concluding section of this Report. Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 685 Back
Appendix 1, paragraphs 686 and 687 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 688 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 689 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 690 Back
Appendix 1, paragraph 691 Back