With your permission, Madam Speaker, I should like to make a personal statement.
I wish unreservedly to apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Coe) and to the House for having tabled amendments to a Bill in Standing Committee in his name but without his knowledge or consent.
I act as parliamentary adviser to the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, a fact which is declared in the Register of Members' Interests and of which my hon. Friend is aware. I thought that he would be supportive of the amendments, so I wrote to him, and we spoke the following day. As soon as he informed me that he was not willing to move them, I apologised to him and withdrew the amendments from the Standing Committee's amendment paper. They never came before the Committee. Nevertheless, I repeat my apologies to the House and to my hon. Friend, for an action which I acknowledge was at odds with the proper expectations of the House.
I am aware too that suspicions have been voiced that my motive in tabling the amendments in the name of a colleague was to avoid the declaration of a financial interest that I possess and he does not. I accept that the amendments would have benefited the association for which I act as parliamentary adviser. My purpose in tabling the amendments in the name of a member of the Standing Committee was, however, to improve their chances of being considered, as I was not in a position to move them myself in Committee.
There was no intention to deceive, but I accept that my actions were open to other interpretations and I wish to apologise to the House without reservation for any harm that they may have done to its reputation.
I have a short statement to make. The House has now heard the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Sir J. Wiggin) make an apology for his conduct. We do not debate or comment on such statements, but I make the point that, whatever structures and procedures we have in the House, we cannot legislate for integrity, and individual Members should act in such a manner whereby their integrity is not called into question.
I trust that this is the last distasteful occasion on which the Speaker is obliged to inquire into the conduct of an hon. Member.