Friday 26 June 2020 / 11:08 AM Steve Reed

Labour Refers Jenrick to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over Westferry Cash-for-Favours Scandal

Labour has today written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate a potential breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick for his role in the Westferry “cash-for-favours” scandal.

There are fresh questions about the case after Labour forced the Government to publish an explosive cache of correspondence and text messages which reveal that the Secretary of State deliberately rushed through a planning decision to save Conservative donor Richard Desmond tens of millions of pounds in tax due to Tower Hamlets Council. The documents show he appeared to be acting on direct instruction from Mr Desmond, which is a serious abuse of powers he is supposed to exercise impartially.

The Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons states that members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources.

It also states that holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

 

Steve Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said:

“The Prime Minister can’t just sweep this issue under the carpet.  There are still so many unanswered questions about Robert Jenrick’s unlawful attempt to help Richard Desmond dodge £150m in tax days before he made a generous donation to the Conservative Party.

“The Prime Minister has yet again shown woefully poor judgment by not referring clear breaches of the Ministerial Code to the Cabinet Secretary and he must now come clean himself about his own involvement in this case.

“The Government must publish all the remaining secret documents in this case to show the public what Mr Jenrick and the Prime Minister were really up to and prove that this is not the start of a new era of Tory sleaze.”