MP Philip Davies apologises over freebie day at the races
A WEST Yorkshire Tory MP has apologised after failing to declare that he had accepted a free day at Cheltenham races during a parliamentary investigation into problem gambling.
Philip Davies said he was sorry for the error, telling MPs that he was not influenced in any way after accepting the freebie from Ladbrokes in March 2011.
The MP for Shipley had “properly and accurately” detailed the trip in the register of interests. But under parliamentary rules, MPs must tell colleagues if they have ever accepted any related interests before speaking in a debate or tabling questions.
Mr Davies said that he had subsequently submitted three parliamentary questions on problem gambling, held an adjournment debate on problem gambling, and been a member of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee when it held an investigation into the Gambling Act 2005. The chief executive of Ladbrokes gave evidence to the committee during the investigation.
His apology follows a complaint to the parliamentary commissioner for standards but it was dismissed.
Mr Davies said: “As soon as I was made aware of this complaint, I told the parliamentary commissioner for standards that I believed that I should have referred to my entry on these occasions. My failure to do so was not due to a desire to conceal this. If that had been my motivation, I would not have registered it in the first place, but rather due to an oversight as I had forgotten about it.
“I do not offer this an excuse as there is no excuse but merely as an explanation.”
The MP said he also offered his resignation to the select committee if any member felt he had acted improperly but they had turned it down. He also insisted his trip had not influenced his input to the committee’s report in any way.
Mr Davies added: “Nevertheless, it was my duty to refer to my register of interest on these occasions and I failed to do so. It is therefore only right that I should take the earliest opportunity I have to apologise to you Mr Speaker, and the whole House for this. I hope that you and the House will accept my sincere apology for this genuine error.”
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Monday 27 May 2013
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