Thursday, 22 May 2008

on declaring expenses

The complicated system of declaring expenses has often been cited as the reason why some MP's fail to declare. Depending on the declaration it has to go to either the Electoral Commission or the Parliamentary Register of Members Interest, or both.

However, it seems that the Tories, in a possible attempt to clear headlines about their own Shadow Cabinet donations carousel, have decided to go on the offensive. Unfortunately, it seems it may have backfired.

Rosie Cooper MP (Labour) has been attacked by the Tory PPC for her constituency, for failing to declare a trip to South Africa earlier this year, which was paid for by Nestle. The PPC attacked her position saying,
it was unwise of Ms Cooper not to be up front and disclose this trip, particularly given her links to the Department of Health.
Unfortunately for him, she did declare it, with the Electoral Commission. Because the trip was part of an Industry and Trust fellowship she wasn't allowed to declare it with the Parliamentary Register. Frustrated, Rosie Cooper has stated that unless the Tory candidate apologises she will sue. Interestingly, she appears to be backed by parliamenatary authorities. They stated that although three other MP's who went on the trip did declare it with Commons authorities,
[they] may have had different arrangements for the
trip.

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