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FIVE Tory ministers are being investigated by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog after they failed to declare a free night out at the glitzy Brit Awards earlier this year.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey allegedly failed to reveal that they were given free tickets to the event on May 11 worth as much as £900 each.
Their Cabinet colleagues Caroline Dinenage, Amanda Solloway and James Cleverly, as well as Conservative backbencher Nickie Aiken, are also part of the official probe — the biggest of its kind to date — by parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Stone.
Labour shadow ministers Chi Onwurah, Alex Sobel and Conor McGinn join the list of those accused of breaching the MPs’ Code of Conduct when attending the music industry awards bash at London’s O2 Arena.
The code requires parliamentarians to update the register of members’ financial Interests within 28 days of receiving gifts, payments or hospitality, but those under investigation allegedly declared their free tickets late, or not at all.
While some have already admitted making an “embarassing mistake,” Ms Truss, Ms Coffey, Ms Dinenage and Ms Solloway reportedly didn’t believe it was necessary to update the register as they were invited in a ministerial capacity.
This meant their attendance would be declared in the hospitality lists, published every three months.
MPs found to have breached the code can be forced to apologise to the Commons, or even be banned from the chamber.
It was also revealed yesterday that a Tory donor provided more than £52,000 to cover some of the costs of Boris Johnson’s lavish renovations to his Downing Street flat.
The refurbishments sparked sustained scrutiny of Mr Johnson’s finances, with the works vastly exceeding the £30,000 annual limit afforded to the Prime Minister.
Conservative Party accounts show its central office provided a “bridging loan” of £52,802 to cover the works after being invoiced by the Cabinet Office in June 2020.
The party was “reimbursed in full” by Lord Brownlow in October, before Mr Johnson “settled the costs” in March.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner demanded full transparency over any further loans offered or received.
“These latest revelations prove that the [PM] appears to be allergic to telling the truth about the dodgy dealings and the web of conflicts of interests, secret loans and cover-ups that hang over him like a bad smell,” she said.
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