June 13, 2022

Keir Starmer says he’s done nothing wrong as investigation under MPs’ conduct rules revealed

Sir Keir Starmer has apologised for “administrative errors” after it emerged that he was being investigated over potential breaches of parliamentary rules on earnings and gifts.

A spokesperson for the Labour leader said the errors had led to “a small number of late declarations”. These were understood to relate to hospitality such as football tickets as well as book payments.

During a visit to Wakefield, Sir Keir said that the allegations were not a surprise. Asked if he was sure he had done nothing wrong, he said: “Absolutely confident, there’s no problem here.”

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The Labour leader is being investigated by Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, under two sections of the MPs’ rules of conduct on registering interests, the parliamentary website shows.

The investigation was opened last Wednesday.

According to the parliamentary website, one strand of the probe is looking at the registration of interests under the section on employment and earnings while a second concerns a possible breach of the section concerning gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources.

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A spokesperson for the Labour leader said: “Keir Starmer takes his declaration responsibilities very seriously and has already apologised for the fact that administrative errors in his office have led to a small number of late declarations.

“The Standards Commissioner has asked for more information which we are happy to provide.”

Under parliamentary rules on employment and earnings, MPs must register payments of more than £100 which they receive for work outside the Commons.

For gifts and hospitality, they must register benefits worth more than £300, or multiple benefits from the same source if they exceed that value in a calendar year.

The register of interests for Sir Keir includes two copyright payments for books written before his election to parliament as well as an £18,450 advance from publisher HarperCollins for a book he is writing.

Details of the probe have emerged at a time when Sir Keir is separately being investigated by police over whether COVID-19 rules were broken during an evening in Durham in April 2021 when he was filmed having a drink and a curry was ordered.

The Labour leader has pledged to resign if he is fined over the event.

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