Angela Rayner defends her criticism of Boris Johnson
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Labour’s deputy leader wrote to the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, urging her to open an investigation into the funding of a holiday to Marbella. The Prime Minister stayed at the villa of Tory peer and minister, Zac Goldsmith.
While he declared in the register of minister’s interests that the trip had been “provided free of charge by the Goldsmiths”, he did not declare the holiday in the Commons register for MPs, which would have required the value of the holiday to be included.
Mr Rayner demanded “an investigation into the latest breach of the rules by the Prime Minister”.
However, Ms Stone has since written back to the Ashton-under-Lyne MP rejecting her request.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said today: “the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has agreed with the approach taken by the Prime Minister that the substantive family holiday in Spain does not require a separate Commons registration.
“As you’ll remember, the PM took advice from Lord Geidt and he registered it as per the rules.”
Lord Geidt is the Prime Minister’s Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests and helps to police the rules of members of the Government.
MPs do not need to declare “family holidays” in the Commons register if they are “wholly unconnected parliamentary or political activities”.
Lord Goldsmith has been close friends with both the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds for a number of years.
No10 argued that given Lord Goldsmith is a longstanding family friend there was no need to update the register, despite his Governmental role.
Writing to the Standards Commissioner, Ms Rayner said: “We cannot have a situation where Boris Johnson behaves like it’s one rule for him and another for everyone else.”
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She added: “You will of course be aware that the last time the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip enjoyed a free luxury holiday your subsequent report found that ‘Mr Johnson was required under the House’s rules to register the holiday accommodation he received’ and the Committee for Standards agreed with the conclusion, stating that ‘Mr Johnson was required to register the holiday accommodation he received in the Register for Members’ Interests… Mr Johnson was required by the Guide to the Rules, which has the authority of the House, to register the accommodation’.
“It is also worth noting that Lord Goldsmith was given a peerage and a ministerial job by Mr Johnson.
“The public could understandably draw the conclusion in this case that the Prime Minister is dishing out cushy jobs to his friends who pay for his luxury holidays.
“Given the Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip has a long history of breaching the rules in relation to parliamentary standards and other integrity and anti-corruption measures, it is my assumption that he will be eager to ensure that he fulfils his obligations under the Rules of the House of Commons in this case.”
Labour has sought to capitalise on claims on sleaze and corruption within the Government in recent weeks.
Mr Johnson has faced an onslaught of backlash over claims Government contracts have been given to firms who are close contacts of ministers.
Pressure has also been ramped up since the spotlight drew attention to extra-income earnt by Tory MPs through second jobs.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Labour Party for comment on the Commissioner’s decision not to investigate the Prime Minister.
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