Tory MP must apologise to Commons over 'serious' breach of rules


A Tory MP has been told to apologise to the House of Commons after failing to declare more than £400,000 of outside income on time.

The Standards Committee found that Geoffrey Cox QC had committed a "serious" breach of rules, although it accepted he had not "intended to hide" the payments for hundreds of hours of legal work. 

The Torridge and West Devon MP, known as one of parliament's highest earners, quit as a member of the committee and referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner in October after it emerged he had repeatedly missed the 28-day deadline.

The cross-party committee said: "We accept that Mr Cox had no intention to hide these payments and that he has not breached the requirements of the House for declaration of relevant interests.

"Nevertheless, as the commissioner notes, the number of payments and the sums involved in the late registration are significant and Mr Cox was in a position which should have ensured that he was more familiar with the rules and the relevant principles of public life in this area than other Members might be."