Committee on Standards publishes report on Stephen Pound
27 April 2020
The Committee on Standards today releases a report relating to a breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament by Stephen Pound, the former MP for Ealing North.
The Committee is grateful to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for her inquiry, which was undertaken at her own initiative after she became aware that Mr Pound had breached the rules of the House by accepting payment in return for arranging events in Parliament between 2012 and 2019.
A detailed memorandum from the Commissioner is appended to the report. Associated evidence is published on the internet.
The Commissioner's findings
Private business activities are not permitted on the parliamentary estate. In the course of her inquiry, the Commissioner for Standards found that Mr Pound had received remuneration for hosting events on the estate between 2012 and 2019 - totalling between £10,000 and £14,000. On receiving these payments, he donated corresponding sums, after tax, to charities of his choice. The events were tours, talks or seminars for two US universities and for DODS training.
The Commissioner notes that Mr Pound co-operated fully with the inquiry and she accepts his statement that he did not receive any personal financial gain or political advantage from these actions.
The Commissioner for Standards would usually resolve a breach of this kind through the rectification procedure. Under this procedure, an indication of the rectification, which usually includes an apology from the Member, would be published on the Commissioner's website, and the matter would be deemed closed.
However, "because of the length of time over which these payments were made and the number and total value of these payments", she referred the matter to the Committee on Standards.
The Committee's conclusions
Mr Pound submitted written evidence in the form of an email to the Committee, in which he apologised "wholeheartedly and without reservation for what was an inadvertent but undeniable breach".
The Committee accepts the Commissioner's findings and recognises that while the breaches took place over a long period of time and on a number of occasions, they did not amount to deliberate and wilful breach of the rules, as Mr Pound was unaware he was in breach. The Committee notes that Mr Pound did not seek or receive any personal benefit from the events he arranged, and in setting up the events he was acting in a public spirited manner, using his own time to disseminate information about Parliament and to confer educational benefits.
The Committee considers that these are strong mitigating factors, and recommends that no further action is required in respect to Mr Pound.
The lay members of the Committee played a full and active part in drawing up the Committee's report, with which they are in agreement.
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