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Lindsay Hoyle MP: Foreign trips and rule breaches

Lindsay Hoyle
Lindsay Hoyle is MP for Chorley

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 Lindsay Hoyle, his relevant parliamentary activities and his reply to the BBC are below.

Gibraltar

The Labour MP for Chorley in Lancashire, Lindsay Hoyle, visited Gibraltar in September 2005, September 2006 and September 2007, paid for by the government of Gibraltar.

The September 2007 trip was registered in January 2008 - outside the four-week period of registration stipulated by the MPs' code of conduct.

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Within a year of registering these trips, Mr Hoyle tabled the following 29 questions relating to Gibraltar specifically, along with three relating to overseas territories generally, without declaring an interest: 18960, 18962 to 18964, 28009, 44147, 44148, 44533 to 44539, 49174, 50984, 50985, 95052 to 95054 (relating to overseas territories), 115998, 117636, 120903, 137642, 190317, 191818, 191819, 205416, 205500, and 205633 to 205635.

Mr Hoyle was the primary sponsor of the following five early day motions relating to Gibraltar, without declaring an interest.

1. MAJOR COLIN RISSO AND MAJOR JOHN PEREZ / 10.2005 / EDM 789

2. ALBERT POGGIO, OBE / 19.01.2006 / EDM 1433

3. ARMS EMBARGO ON NORTH KOREA / 05.02.2007 / EDM 825

4. CAMMELL LAIRD GIBRALTAR / 14.05.2007 EDM 1452

5. BORDER BETWEEN SPAIN AND GIBRALTAR / 08.05.2008 / EDM 1522

Mr Hoyle also signed an additional five early day motions relating to Gibraltar without declaring an interest.

6. GIBRALTAR DAY CELEBRATION / 25.10.2006 / EDM 2861

7. TROOPING THE COLOUR / 11.06.2008 / EDM 1775

8. GIBRALTAR SERVICES POLICE / 14.07.2008 / EDM 2026

9. BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY / 10.11.2008 / EDM 2468

10. BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY / 28.01.2009 / EDM 624

During a debate on 26 February 2008 entitled Medals (Armed Forces Personnel), Mr Hoyle raised the issue of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, without declaring an interest.

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

He said: "We must of course always remember that the Royal Gibraltar Regiment has played its part as well; its members have been serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and earning the Military Cross. We have other troops from overseas territories who play a major role."

Mr Hoyle is also a member of the European Scrutiny Committee. On 12 July 2006, the then Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, appeared before the Committee.

During the session, Mr Hoyle questioned him on issues relating to Gibraltar, without declaring an interest.

The MPs' code of conduct states: "A member is required to 'declare an interest when asking any questions which relate directly, or which might reasonably be thought by others to relate directly, to the financial interest he or she holds... Such a declaration must be made irrespective of any declaration having been made at an earlier meeting of the committee'. One such declaration is sufficient for any questions asked of the same witnesses during one evidence session."

Overseas visits costing more than 1% of an MP's salary, and not paid for by the MP or the public purse, are considered a registrable financial interest.

Cayman Islands

Mr Hoyle visited the Cayman Islands in July 2008, on a trip paid for by the islands' government. The trip was registered on 6 November 2008 - again outside the stipulated four-week period.

Following the trip, Mr Hoyle asked the following three questions relating to the Cayman Islands without declaring an interest: 237107, 237156 and 237157.

He also signed the following early day motions relating to the islands, again without declaring an interest.

1. BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY / 10.11.2008 / EDM 2468

2. BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES AND REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY / 28.01.2009 / EDM 624

3. TROOPING THE COLOUR / 10.06.2009 / EDM 1644

British Virgin Islands

Mr Hoyle visited the British Virgin Islands in May 2006 on a trip paid for by the islands' government. The trip was registered on 11 October 2006 - outside the required four-week period.

In the February following the visit, he asked the following questions about the British Virgin Islands without declaring an interest: 120902 and 120903.

Reply

Lindsay Hoyle told the BBC that all his visits to British overseas territories had all been registered and that, "in no way can overseas territories governments be considered to be foreign - they are British".

He added: "All my visits to British overseas territories have been declared in the Register of Members' Interests. I would like to make it clear that I have never received, or sought, any financial benefit as a result of my activities in relation to the overseas territories.

"In light of your comments about the code of conduct, I have written to the Commissioner for Standards seeking guidance and clarification on this matter with reference to representation of overseas territories in the UK Parliament and how this relates to the duties of a Member of Parliament. I will, of course, fully accept and abide by the guidance provided by the commissioner."


Other MPs who have breached the rules:



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