Brighton MP breached code of conduct

Posted On 19 Mar 2020 at 5:01 pm

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas broke official rules by offering a personal tour of Parliament to raise funds towards her re-election campaign.

The Green MP said that she had breached the rules inadvertently and apologised to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone.

The finding came after a complaint by Brighton-born Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, who represents Lichfield in Staffordshire.

The commissioner said: “I investigated the allegation that the member had breached … the Code of Conduct for Members by offering a guided tour of Parliament in an auction to raise funds for a political party.

“During my inquiry, I established that the member had agreed to sell through a crowdfunder site a personal tour of Parliament and a signed order paper to raise funds as part of her re-election campaign.

“On considering the sale of the signed copy of the order paper, and after seeking advice from the House, I concluded this was not a breach of the rules.

“However, my investigation established that the member had, on her return to Parliament after the election, hosted a tour of Parliament, which had been paid for via an online fundraising campaign.

“I found that in doing so the member had acted in breach of the rules.

“The member acknowledged their breach, apologised and undertook not to repeat it.”

Mr Fabricant, who complained after reading on the Mail Online website: “A £150 donation gets you a guided tour of the Commons while £250 secures lunch with her.”

He said: “This article says that this is a personal guided tour if she is re-elected.

“I believe it inappropriate for her to be touting for donations using the facilities of the House of Commons as an inducement.

“This is also an unfair advantage over other election candidates.”

After the commissioner’s verdict, Caroline Lucas said: “I have today written to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to accept the outcome of her investigation and apologise for an inadvertent breach of the code of conduct.

“In order to raise funds for my local party in the recent general election campaign, I made an offer on a crowdfunding site of a personal tour of those areas of Parliament which are special to me.

“When I did so, I did not believe I was breaking parliamentary rules, which I had interpreted to mean that what was prohibited was offering something that was otherwise ‘freely available’.

“I did not believe such a personal tour was ‘freely available’.

“However, the commissioner has ruled that this was a breach of the code of conduct and I accept her decision.

“I would like to apologise for this completely unintentional breach of the rules.

“The Green Party has returned the money to the supporter who made the donation.”

The report by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner can be found here.

  1. roy pennington Reply
    Caroline Lucas: known as one of the UK’s most … principled MPs.
    Personal guided tour of House of Commons if re-elected
    Caroline will give a 30 minute tour around Parliament. See where it all happens!
    Signed copy of Saturday sitting order paper
    On 19th October, Parliament had a historic Saturday sitting. On that day, Boris Johnson lost, by 322 to 306, the vote on the ‘Letwin amendment’, meaning that he had to write to the EU asking for a further extension. Caroline has kept – and signed – her copy of the ‘order paper’ for the day, and it’s available to one lucky donor!Est. Delivery Date: 15 January 2020
    1 claimed
    None left

    • Kevin Smith Reply

      Are you trying to tell me that tory party members funding from huge business isn’t dishonest? It’s biased and corrupt and you make me sick complaining over such a tiny amount.

      • Jack Reply

        Not as corrupt as selling tickets for a free activity to fund an election.

  2. roy pennington Reply

    re: Lucas’ offer to sell order paper
    If a Member
    acquired an Order Paper to assist in their parliamentary duties on a particular day,
    I don’t think we would assert any restrictions over what subsequent use they might
    make of it (line a parrot cage, sell on an online auction).

  3. Simon Wilson Reply

    How refreshing for a politician to accept the verdict, without reservation, apologise and make restitution. I don’t support everything she stands for but greatly admire her morals. We need more like this.

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