Labour peer cleared of deliberate misconduct, but questions remain over inquiry

Labour peer Doug Hoyle has been cleared of deliberate misconduct by an inquiry into the circumstances in which he introduced Michael Wood, an advisor to the arms industry, to Lord Drayson, the Minister responsible for arms procurement. Hoyle failed to declare that he was receiving money from Michael Wood, but defended himself saying that the payments were not related to the meeting.

Although the Lords inquiry cleared him of deliberate misconduct,

The group did not interview any witnesses about the allegations, nor did it take evidence from Drayson or the Ministry of Defence.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat frontbench MP, said: “The peers are living in a parallel universe”. [The Guardian]

Rather strangely the inquiry’s report both says

It is not possible on the basis of the evidence that we have received to know whether Lord Hoyle did disclose his relationship with Whitehall Advisers to Lord Drayson at the meeting. But if he did not do so, then to that extent he was in error, because the House’s code of conduct requires Members to disclose relevant interests when communicating with ministers (para. 8(b)).

yet also says

We are satisfied that no further investigation is needed.

So, the inquiry didn’t have enough evidence to conclude if the code of conduct had been broken, but also decided that it didn’t need to try to get any more evidence. Hmm…

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