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Andrew Love MP: Foreign trips and rule breaches

Andrew Love
Andrew Love is MP for Edmonton, north London

A BBC investigation has revealed that more than 20 MPs have breached rules in relation to registering and declaring overseas trips paid for by foreign governments.

The trips taken by Andrew Love and his relevant parliamentary activity are listed below.

Mr Love told the BBC that while he may not have met "the letter of the requirements of the code of conduct, I did more than meet the spirit of the code in terms of acting on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in me as an elected representative". His detailed responses are also below.

Cyprus

Andrew Love, the Labour MP for Edmonton, visited Cyprus in October 2004 and registered the trip at the end of December, outside the four-week period of registration stipulated in the MPs' code of conduct. The trip was paid for by Municipality of Morphou.

Mr Love visited Cyprus for a second time in August 2006 this time paid for by the Municipality of Ammochostos-Famagusta. He registered this trip on 12 October, also outside the required period.

Mr Love visited Cyprus in November 2008 on a trip paid for by the Cyprus House of Representatives. The trip was registered in February 2009, again outside the four-week period.

DECLARING FOREIGN TRIPS
Any MP who has an overseas trip paid for by a foreign government must register it within four weeks
They must declare a financial interest if it "might reasonably be thought by others to influence the speech, representation or communication in question"
This includes when tabling questions, motions, bills or amendments, and when speaking out during Commons proceedings
Members may not, for example, call for increased UK financial assistance to the government which provided the hospitality

Mr Love participated in a debate on Cyprus on 8 November 2005, within a year of registration of the October 2004 visit.

During the debate, Mr Love asked four questions relating to the island, including one to the Europe minister, but did not declare an interest.

The code of conduct states that MPs who have yet to register an interest "shall not undertake any action, speech or proceeding of the House (except voting) to which the registration would be relevant, until he or she has notified the commissioner of that interest".

On 10 November 2009, within a year of registering the trip, Mr Love participated in a debate about Cyprus, without declaring an interest.

Within a year of registering either of the Cyprus trips, Mr Love signed 10 early day motions relating to the island. In the case of five, he did not declare an interest:

1. 'AMMOCHOSTOS (FAMAGUSTA) )' / 30.06.2005 / EDM 471

2. 'VISIT OF THE MAYORS OF KYRENIA AND FAMAGUSTA' / 22.02.2007 / EDM 963

3. 'SOTERIS GEORGALLIS' / 16.04.2007 / EDM 1273

4. 'RELIGIOUS HERITAGE IN CYPRUS' / 11.07.2007 / EDM 1895

5. 'LOST HERITAGE CYPRUS EXHIBITION' / 31.03.2009 / EDM 1244

Sri Lanka

Mr Love visited Sri Lanka in April 2006 and March 2008, courtesy of its government.

Following Mr Love's second visit to Sri Lanka he asked four questions that related to Sri Lanka, without declaring an interest: 221769, 227582, 227583 and 255792.

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS
To view them, open Parliamentary Question number facility
Select "last five years" in the date search section
Enter relevant numbers in "Parliamentary Question number" box

On 24 May 2006, Mr Love tabled a debate about Sri Lanka. Records of the Summary Agenda, the Weekly Information Bulletin and the Order of Business indicate that he did not declare an interest, although he did mention a recent visit. Whenever an interest is declared, the symbol "[R]" appears on the relevant notice or order papers.

During the debate, Mr Love said: "I note that the Department for International Development has been involved in innovative programmes on internally displaced persons.

"In former programmes, it has tried to assist people to return to their original homes. It could construct a similar programme so that people can rehabilitate themselves within the district of Puttalam and establish employment opportunities."

The BBC put to Mr Love that urging the ministers to consider aid for a project in Sir Lanka might be perceived as lobbying on behalf of an overseas power from whom hospitality had recently been received. Mr Love stated: "I reject out of hand and in the strongest terms any [such] inference."

On 18 December 2008, Mr Love spoke in a debate on Sri Lanka, without declaring an interest.

On 24 March 2009, Mr Love participated in a debate on Sri Lanka, without declaring an interest.

Replies - Cyprus

In response to the points above Mr Love told the BBC: "The municipalities of Morphou and Famagusta are local authorities along similar lines to those in the UK.

"The government of Cyprus was not involved in hosting the delegation or deciding its programme.

"The question that I have to answer relates to relevance and whether my declaration, 'might reasonably be thought by others to influence the speech…etc' (paragraph 74). Any declaration must relate to the municipalities or the House of Representatives and has nothing to do with a 'foreign government'."

Replies to question numbers: 16103 and 16104 (October 2005)

"Both questions were of a very general character and were not sufficiently relevant to the hosts of my visits (House of Reps and municipalities) to need to be registered," said Mr Love.

Reply on the adjournment debates

In respect of the debates on 8 November 2005, 18 December 2008 and 24 March 2009, Mr Love said his interventions in these debates had been very brief, and referred to the code of conduct that recommends MPs should exercise their judgement when declaring an interest.

"I did not wish to delay proceedings or to stop the large group of members who did wish to participate from speaking," he said.

Adjournment debate - 10 November 2009

Mr Love told the BBC that in this instance he had, "omitted to declare my interest".

Early day motions (EDM)

Mr Love told the BBC that he had declared an interest in five EDMs during this period, but had omitted to do so in five other cases.

Of those, Mr Love said that he believed EDMs 1273, 1895 and 1244 did not require a declaration.

"Regarding the other two EDMs I accept that I omitted to register my interest," he said.

Adjournment Debate - 24 May 2006

Mr Love said that he did not declare an interest during this debate, but he did mention that he had visited the island although he was not "advocating in any way" assistance to the Sri Lanan government.


Other MPs who have breached the rules:



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