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Monday, 26 February, 2001, 20:49 GMT
Questions over former PM's earnings
John Major
John Major's foreign earnings are again under scrutiny
Former Conservative prime minister John Major is embroiled in a fresh controversy over declaring his earnings from overseas speaking tours.

In the latest Commons register of members' interests, published on Monday, he declares 11 overseas trips but gives no details of any fees paid to him.


I don't think Mr Major is abiding by the spirit or the letter of the rules

Desmond Turner
After Mr Major made a similar entry in the register last year, Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards Elizabeth Filkin ordered him to declare the details of his earnings.

Desmond Turner, the Labour MP whose complaint triggered the commissioner's investigation, said the Mr Major's latest entry in the register appeared to put him firmly at odds with Ms Filkin.

"I find it very odd. It sounds to me to be in contravention of the advice he was given," he said.

I don't think he is abiding by either the spirit or the letter of the rules."

Nothing wrong

Mr Major, who has been in Kuwait for the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War, insists he has done nothing wrong and is challenging Ms Filkin's interpretation of the Commons rules.

A statement issued by his office said: "Mr Major has taken legal advice to ensure he has provide all the information required of him by parliamentary resolutions. He is advised that he has done so."

Elizabeth Filken
Elizabeth Filkin: New ruling?
In her report on Mr Major published last May, Ms Filkin said he should lodge with her office a copy of an employment agreement he had with the Washington Speakers Bureau - the agency which arranges his tours.

She also said that he should register his annual fee from WSB as well as listing the individual client bodies who paid the fees.

However, the statement issued by Mr Major's office said he had not submitted an employment agreement with WSB as one had never existed.

It added that if a review of the rules, currently being carried out by the Standards and Privileges Committee, required him to submit more information, he would do so.

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See also:

10 Mar 00 | UK Politics
John Major: A life in politics
18 Nov 98 | UK Politics
MPs get new sleaze watchdog
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