Kettering Tory MP Philip Hollobone in ‘clean coal’ directorship row

by Stephen Tall on June 13, 2009

A press release from the Kettering Lib Dems drops into the Voice’s email inbox:

Liberal Democrats in Kettering have demanded answers from Kettering’s Conservative MP Philip Hollobone – after a BBC investigation suggested that he broke parliamentary rules on declaring his financial interests.

The Conservative MP receives between £15,001 and £20,000 per year as a non-executive director of a ‘clean coal’ company, in addition to his elected roles as a member of parliament and a Kettering borough councillor. Since taking up this role in January 2007, the BBC investigation found that he had asked three questions in Parliament about ‘clean coal’ technology without declaring his financial interests.

Parliamentary rules require all MPs to declare their personal financial interests when tabling parliamentary questions or speaking in debates, as well as publishing this information in the register of members’ interests.

“The people of Kettering constituency need a member of parliament that they can trust to represent them and who put their needs above the needs of lobbyists,” said Kettering Liberal Democrat spokesperson Alan Window .

“By asking questions in which he seems to have a clear financial stake – and then apparently breaking parliamentary rules by not declaring that stake – Philip Hollobone’s behaviour is very disappointing,” he continued.

“Not only does he have some very serious questions to answer about his role at this company, his very decision to take up this directorship will cause many to question his judgment and his impartiality. If Philip Hollobone really wants to clean up British politics, he should start by resigning this directorship and becoming the full-time MP we elected him to be!”

Notes:

The House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests shows that since 9 th January 2007, Philip Hollobone MP has been paid between £15,001 and £20,000 pa as a non-executive director for Nviro Cleantech plc, described as being “engaged in clean coal and other environmental technologies”. source

Non-partisan website They Work For You – which collates records of parliamentary questions and debates – indicates that since taking up his directorship with Nviro Cleantech on 9 th January 2007, Philip Hollobone asked two questions in October 2007 and spoke in a parliamentary debate on 23rd April 2009, all on the subject of clean coal

The full House of Commons Code of Conduct on declaring MPs’ interest can be seen here

In tabling written parliamentary questions, paragraphs 60 and 61 of the Code of Conduct require MPs to declare any relevant financial interests at the same time as tabling the question – which is then marked “[R]” on the order paper. The BBC reports that no declaration was made on these questions. This is confirmed by the lack of the symbol “[R]” next to the question on the order paper.

In taking part in parliamentary debates, paragraph 59 requires MPs to make a brief statement declaring any relevant financial interests as part of their speech. The record of proceedings confirms no declaration was made