Conservative MP David Morris will have to make an official apology to Parliament after breaking the rules to prevent ‘cash for questions’ and similar abuses.
As the BBC reports:
MPs are not allowed to lobby for any person or organisation within six months of receiving any money from them as a donation.
Lobbying means trying to get support on any topic of interest, by asking parliamentary questions, approaching Ministers, public officials or other MPs.
The Commissioner, Kathryn Stone, considered the circumstances surrounding a question Mr Morris asked in the Commons on 22 October 2019.
In September 2019, Mr Morris had accepted a donation of £10,000 from Aquind Ltd, which was declared on his register of interests.
The firm is led by Ukrainian-born businessman Alexander Temerko, who is now a British citizen. Mr Termerko has donated more than £1m in total to the Conservative Party, and individual Tory MPs, in recent years.
Mr Morris’s question sought for Ofgem – the energy watchdog – to “protect” companies such as Aquind Ltd through new regulations.
The following day, Mr Morris also emailed a copy of his question and the minister’s reply to the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The commissioner found that the question and the email breached the rules on MPs conduct.
David Morris has also been criticised for his response to the complaint when it was first made:
By his own admission, Mr Morris’s communication with the Commissioner during the earlier stages of her investigation was unnecessarily combative.
The verdict on him therefore is:
We recommend that Mr Morris should apologise to the House for his breaches of the Code of Conduct by means of a personal statement, the terms of which should be agreed in advance with Mr Speaker and with the Chair of the Committee.