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A CONSERVATIVE candidate has been accused of undermining “public trust” after accepting a £10,000 donation from a company about which he later asked a question in Parliament.
Morecambe and Lunesdale candidate David Morris asked a parliamentary question in October about regulations that might affect a £1.1 billion electricity project overseen by Aquind Ltd.
One of the company’s directors is Tory Party donor Alexander Temerko, while Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign manager James Wharton holds a paid advisory role in the company.
The proposed project is in Lovedean, Hampshire, which is 280 miles away from Mr Morris’s constituency.
During the debate, he asked energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng to “protect British companies by granting regulation as soon as possible in accordance with British law,” rather than EU law, which Mr Kwarteng agreed to.
However, it was revealed that he had received a £10,000 donation from the company in September.
This contradicts the parliamentary code of conduct, which says that MPs must not “initiate a proceeding or approach which seeks to confer any financial or material benefit on an identifiable person from whom, or an identifiable organisation from which, they have received outside reward or consideration.”
The rules also make it clear that asking questions in Parliament is considered within “proceedings,” and that “outside reward or consideration” includes all financial interests of MPs.
Steve Goodrich, a spokesman for Transparency International UK, said: “When elected to Parliament, it is critical that our representatives scrupulously avoid the perception of being in the pocket of vested interests.”
Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: “Politicians must always act in the interests of the people that elected them, not a few super-rich donors with privileged access. When they don’t, democracy is threatened.
“Boris Johnson’s refusal to publish the report on foreign interference in our democracy has undermined public trust.
“A Labour government will overhaul political donations and lobbying, and take immediate action to bring transparency to the heart of government.”
Mr Morris said: “No breach of conduct has occurred as the declaration is clearly stated before the question was raised in Hansard as in accordance with the House of Commons rules.”
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