With the future of the system of policing MP’s conduct still uncertain following a Government U-turn on a planned review, the eight MPs currently under investigation by the Commons watchdog have a personal interest in how the issue will pan out.
These investigations do not mean Commons rules have been broken, but any changes to the current system will determine the process under which these MPs will be judged.
Of those currently under the scrutiny of Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, five are Conservatives, three of whom – Daniel Kawczynski, James Cleverly and David Warburton – voted in favour of the motion to shake up the current system.
Mr Kawczynski’s case refers to paragraph 17 of the Code of Conduct, which was introduced in 2018. This relates to “actions causing significant damage to the reputation of the House as a whole, or of its members generally”.
The commissioner’s website does not provide any further detail on the conduct under investigation.
Mr Kawczynski apologised “unreservedly” in the Commons for acting in a “threatening and intimidating” manner to parliamentary staff when he was unable to join a committee hearing in April 2020 due to technical issues.
Foreign office minister Mr Cleverly’s case falls under paragraph 14 of the code of conduct and relates to a registration of interest concerning gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources.
The investigation into Mr Warburton, who is the chairman of the All-Parliamentary Group on Music, also comes under paragraph 14.
Paragraph 14 states: “Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
“They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with ministers, members, public officials or public office holders.”
There is no voting record for the remaining two Conservative MPs who are the subject of a conduct investigation, which means they either abstained or were granted permission to miss the vote.
Both Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and backbencher and Ian Liddell-Grainger are being investigated under paragraph 14.
In July, Labour claimed Mr Liddell-Grainger breeched standards by not registering a trip to China in 2018, which was said to have been paid for the country’s state-owned energy company China General Nuclear.
The remaining MPs under investigation are all from Labour and their cases also relate to paragraph 14.
The case of shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens refers to the registration of donations and other support for activities as an MP and gifts, benefits and hospitality.
Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for science, research and digital, is being investigated in relation to registering an interest, as is former shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner.
Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced a U-turn on controversial plans to overhaul the disciplinary process for MPs and review Owen Paterson’s alleged breach of lobbying rules after widespread outrage.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would now seek “cross-party” changes to the system after Labour and other opposition parties refused to take part in a “corrupt” Tory-led committee tasked with the review.