Morecambe MP told to apologise for breaching House of Commons donation rules

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, was found to have broken the "paid advocacy rule" after asking a question in the Commons following the receipt of a £10,000 donation.

Parliament's Standards Commissioner also criticised the 54-year-old MP's conduct during an investigation.

The commissioner accepted that Mr Morris's rule breaking was inadvertent, but criticised his behaviour during her investigation as "regrettable and disrespectful of the House's system of standards".

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The report said he "repeatedly questioned the commissioner's remit and her right to consult her officials".But it added: "Mr Morris subsequently apologised to the commissioner and the Registrar and outlined factors he considered had influenced how he had engaged with the investigation."

Mr Morris will now need to make a formal apology in the House of Commons.

He is currently on paternity leave following the birth of his daughter.Rules state that MPs are not allowed to lobby for any person or organisation within six months of receiving any money from them as a donation.

Commissioner Kathryn Stone based the report on circumstances surrounding a question Mr Morris asked in the Commons on October 22 2019.

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In September last year, he accepted a donation of £10,000 from Aquind Ltd.

The donation was declared on his register of interests.

His question sought for energy watchdog Ofgem to "protect" companies such as Aquind Ltd through new regulations.

He also emailed a copy of his question and the minister's reply to the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy the following day.

The commissioner found that the question and the email breached the rules on MPs conduct.

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Sanctioning the MP for breaking the rules, the Committee on Standards said: "Mr Morris should apologise to the House by means of a personal statement, which should be agreed in advance with Mr Speaker and the Chair of the Committee."

County Coun Lizzi Collinge, who stood against Mr Morris in the 2019 general election said: "I welcome the findings from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

"As I said last November, it is utterly unacceptable for an MP to accept money off a company and then lobby for them in Parliament.

"The people of Morecambe and Lunesdale don't have £10,000 to gain access to their MP - Mr Morris should focus on representing his constituents, not his wealthy donors."

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