Following a report issued last Thursday by the Committee on Standards, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the House for not registering and not declaring unremunerated directorships of companies in my wholly owned investment group Samfire Proprietary Ltd, namely of that company, of Alibante Developments Ltd, of Makoonor Holdings Ltd and of West Sea Investments Ltd; and for my late updating of the register for company name changes in 2018.
The financial interests in ownership were registered and declared, and there was no conflict of interest. My judgment was that, as unremunerated directorships did not have any bearing on my work as a Member of this House and could not, in my view, reasonably be thought to do so, it was not required that I should declare them. The relevant rule states that non-financial interests should be registered and declared, if the Member considers that those interests might reasonably be thought by others to influence them in their activities as a Member. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards took a different view, the Committee supported her, and I accept its findings.
I apologise to the House for this situation, which was born of a misunderstanding about what is required, and I will update my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests accordingly. The Committee’s report also asked me to apologise to the Commissioner and the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests, and I will write and agree the text of that apology in advance with the Chair of the Committee. I wish to put on the record my thanks to the commissioner, the registrar, and the Committee for their time in this matter.