Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Ministers reveal their interests

Gordon Brown and ministers in the House of Commons
Gordon Brown listed his shares in Raith Rovers Football Club

Ministers have revealed their "relevant interests" with a golf-playing son, a book deal and the ownership of part of a nature reserve among them.

The list is part of government efforts to show there is "no conflict" between their activities - and those of their families - and public service.

In it, Prime Minister Gordon Brown declares some shares - "not for financial gain" - in Raith Rovers FC.

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell lists her son, who is a professional golfer.

She also notes that she "is separated from her husband", lawyer David Mills, who was convicted last month of accepting a bribe from Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

'Published later'

In the List of Members' Interests, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn says he "owns one quarter of a small nature reserve in Essex".

Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch Brown, who was deputy secretary-general of the United Nations before he joined the government, has possibly the most intriguing entry.

It says that he "entered into a book contract before becoming a minister".

The entry goes on: "The subject of the book is not related to ministerial office. It will not be published until he leaves ministerial office."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson says his "financial interests have been transferred into a blind trust".

It adds that he will receive a European Commission pension at the age of 65.

'Several questions'

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker said: "While this sort of transparency is welcome, it is long overdue.

"However, Peter Mandelson using a blind trust to handle his dealings raises several questions...

"We have a right to know who is looking after his interests. If it is by one of his mates then it is not really arm's length at all."

Many of the ministers list school governorships, being patrons of charities and presidencies of sports clubs.

The document says: "The list is not an account of all the interests held by a minister and members of their family.

"It is a list of interests which are, or could reasonably be perceived to be, directly relevant to ministers' public duties."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "The document we are publishing today provides significantly greater transparency in relation to ministers' interests than has existed previously, taking forward a commitment made by the prime minister in the Ministerial Code."

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