A Tory MP has been reprimanded for his ‘deprecatory’ behaviour and ordered to apologise for failing to register his business directorships as interests
Marcus Fysh, a member of the European scrutiny committee, was today found to have made three breaches of the code of conduct by the parliamentary commissioner for standards.
The commissioner would typically have ordered the failure to register the directorships to be corrected, but the Yeovil MP did not accept her findings and the Commons standards committee intervened.
The MPs found a series of ‘aggravating factors’, including Fysh having ‘adopted a deprecatory and, at points, patronising tone towards the commissioner and the registrar which was unacceptable, as were his unfounded questions about their objectivity’.
The committee recommended that the register of interests was corrected for his four unpaid directorships which have continued and that he should ‘make an apology on the floor of the House for both the non-registrations and non-declarations by means of a personal statement’.
He was also told to apologise to the commissioner, Kathryn Stone, and registrar in writing.
The Standards Committee backed the commissioner in finding that the unpaid directorships could reasonably be thought to influence him and therefore should have been registered.
They were relevant to his continued role on the European Scrutiny Committee, and his former one on the International Trade Committee, because they arose from his career overseas in international investment before becoming an MP, the report found.
Even though the companies, including those registered in Australia and Cyprus, are not currently trading, he was said to have described them as having a potential value ‘in the small amounts of millions’.
Fysh, in his written evidence, criticised the commissioner as having ‘set too much store by the unsubstantiated opinion of the registrar’ and cited ‘a complete lack of factual evidence’.
And he said the commissioner had ‘never really been willing to hear the other side of this’ and accused her of having ‘never, ever gone beyond apprehension of what she thinks things mean’.