Conservative MP for North Norfolk repays £4912.42 after breaking Parliamentary rules

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has been investigating Conservative MP Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) over his use of Parliamentary stationery:

Duncan Baker, the Conservative MP for North Norfolk, is the subject of a probe opened by Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Ms Stone is in the process of examining whether Mr Baker broke the rules around the “use of facilities [stationery] provided from the public purse”.

It is understood that those rules concern whether stationery, such as paper with the House of Commons logo on it, can be used by MPs “for newsletters (including annual reports or general updates to constituents on a range of issues)”. [North Norfolk News]

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Just before Christmas, in a report published on the Parliamentary website, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards concluded the case. She found that Duncan Baker had broken the rules and he’s had to repay all the costs involved:

After reviewing all the evidence, I found the Member’s use of Parliamentary resources to be a breach of paragraph 16 of the Code of Conduct for Members. I found that the letter constituted a newsletter on a range of issues which is prohibited by paragraph 3 of the rules for the use of stationery.

During the course of the investigation the Member notified me about a second mailing covering more than one single issue, which is prohibited by the rules. However, I found that the issues were linked rather than distinct and so the further mailing did not constitute a breach.

The Member told me that he had believed he was complying with the rules but apologised from the outset if he had inadvertently breached the rules. He accepted my decision and undertook to refund to the House authorities the sum of £4912.42 to reimburse the public purse the value of the misused stationery.

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