Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Richard Spring MP: Foreign trips and rule breaches

Richard Spring
Richard Spring is the MP for West Suffolk

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 Richard Spring, his relevant parliamentary activity and his reply to the BBC are listed below.


The Conservative MP for West Suffolk visited Mauritius in July 2009 on a trip paid for in part by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Mauritius.

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 22 February 2010, Mr Spring asked three questions that related to Mauritius where no interest appears to have been declared.


Mr Spring replied to the BBC saying: "It is correct that I am technically in breach of the rules in relation to these questions."

He added: "The context is that I checked rules last summer." At that point the MP said the rules stated that anything contained in the current register, which reflected the recent past, needed to be declared.

He continued saying: "In July the rule was modified to include the previous 12 months. However I accept that I should have known about the changes in July and that I should have ticked the box."

Other MPs who have breached the rules:

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific