Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Liam Fox MP: Foreign trips and rule breaches

Liam Fox
Liam Fox is the MP for Woodspring

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 Liam Fox, his relevant parliamentary activities and reply to the BBC are listed below.

Conservative MP for Woodspring Liam Fox has registered 28 overseas trips during this Parliament, nine of which were funded - in whole or in part - by foreign governments.

Sri Lanka

Dr Fox visited Sri Lanka in November 2007 on a trip paid for by its government. This trip was registered in February 2008 - outside the four-week period stipulated by the MPs' code of conduct.

Dr Fox visited Sri Lanka in March 2008, and in March, August and November 2009 on trips paid for by the government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Development Trust.

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

On 30 April 2008, Dr Fox tabled a question about aid to Sri Lanka but did not declare an interest.

Reply

In response, Dr Fox told the BBC: "I have been involved in attempts to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, involving all sides of the ethnic divide, since I was a foreign minister in 1997.

"During my most recent visit I spoke at a press conference to outline my reasons for being there.

"The declaration of the visit you refer to in November 2007 was highlighted in an end-of-year audit following a changeover of staffing responsibilities.

"The registrar was immediately notified and my register entry was updated accordingly.

"All visits have been fully declared on the House of Commons Register of Members' Interests and are therefore public knowledge and entirely legitimate.

"I do, however, recognise that when asking one question in 2008, I should have noted an interest and will be writing to the registrar to make this clear."


Other MPs who have breached the rules:



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