Hancock ‘shocked and surprised’ by standards commissioner inquiry

Hancock ‘shocked and surprised’ by standards commissioner inquiry

Former UK well being secretary Matt Hancock is beneath investigation by the parliamentary requirements commissioner over claims he sought to control an ethics inquiry.

The investigation, by commissioner Daniel Greenberg, is the newest in a collection of controversies surrounding the previous cupboard minister since he stepped down in June 2021 for breaching coronavirus lockdown guidelines by forming a relationship with an aide.

He misplaced his occasion’s whip in November final 12 months after taking go away from the Commons to look on the fact TV present I’m a Superstar Get Me Out of Right here.

Greenberg additionally introduced probes into two different MPs on Wednesday: Scott Benton, who was stripped of the Conservative occasion whip final week, and Crawley MP Henry Smith, who faces an investigation over his use of stationery “supplied by the general public purse”, in response to info posted on the commissioner’s web site.

The commissioner, who oversees MPs’ adherence to the Home of Commons’ code of conduct, didn’t clarify which investigation Hancock was suspected of making an attempt to affect. A put up on the commissioner’s web site stated solely that it involved “lobbying the commissioner in a way calculated or meant to affect his consideration of whether or not a breach of the code of conduct has occurred”.

An aide to the previous well being secretary declined to say which case Hancock was suspected of making an attempt to affect and insisted he was “shocked and stunned by the investigation”.

“Removed from lobbying the commissioner, Matt wrote to Mr Greenberg in good religion to supply some further proof that he thought was not solely pertinent however useful for an inquiry the Parliamentary Commissioner for Requirements is at present conducting,” the aide stated.

The difficulty was “clearly a misunderstanding”, the aide added.

In the meantime, the commissioner stated Benton, who represents Blackpool South, was being investigated over his use of a publicly funded electronic mail handle. Benton referred himself to the commissioner after reporters filmed him providing to ask parliamentary questions and foyer ministers on behalf of a fictitious firm. Benton didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The commissioner stated the investigation into Smith was relating to his use of stationery supplied from taxpayer funds. The Crawley MP didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

There are at present 15 MPs — eight of them former Conservatives — sitting as independents within the Home of Commons after having the whip taken away for suspected or confirmed breaches of requirements.

After his preliminary investigation, the commissioner can cross severe circumstances on to the Committee on Requirements which consists of MPs and lay members. The committee can maintain public hearings and impose sanctions resembling suspension from the Commons.

Back To Top