MP broke rules with late declaration of Islington payments, report finds

Claudia Webbe will be Bunhill councillor for another year as by-election is postponed.

Ms Webbe is now receiving just over £900 a month to be a Bunhill ward councillor. - Credit: Archant

An MP and councillor has breached Parliament's code of conduct by failing to declare ongoing payments from Islington Council for more than half a year.

In investigating a complaint against Bunhill ward's Cllr Claudia Webbe, parliamentary commissioner for standards Kathryn Stone found the Leicester East MP had breached paragraph 14 of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament in the late registration of eight payments from Islington Council and one from Tradewinds UK.

The paragraph states: "They (MPs) 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."

The report says Ms Webbe has been paid £876.59 each month by Islington Council since April 2019 - an amount which increased to £900.67 in September last year. 

Newly elected as an MP in Leicester in December 2019, Ms Webbe registered her financial interests for the year prior as £3,452.60.


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But then nothing was recorded until October, when she declared £876.59 per month for January to September. 

Ms Stone found all but the initial and September payment fell outside of a 28-day deadline to declare financial interests over £100.

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The report reads: "Ms Webbe has acknowledged and apologised for her breaches of the rules. She has met with the registrar in order to improve her awareness of the rules on registration, and she has assured me she now understands what is required when registering her interests in the future."

Ms Stone added the breach was at the "less serious end of the spectrum".

Ms Webbe declined to comment. 

However, the report includes a letter from the MP which says she was "unaware or misunderstood" the rule, believing it to be an annual requirement and that there may be exceptions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

She wrote: "By the time of the national lockdown I had not yet appointed anything close to a full complement of staff - consequently my own workload was huge and I was working seven days a week with less than four hours sleep a day and still learning all the rules and workings of Parliament."

A letter from the registrar to the commissioner confirms Ms Webbe received a letter outlining the house rules when she was initially elected, and had reminders in "almost all our communications with MPs". 

A by-election for the Bunhill seat is scheduled for May.

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