In light of the leaked information about the Panama Papers, I’ve looked up the various registered interests of the four candidates who ran for Tory party leadership after Michael Howard resigned in 2005. The election took place between 7 October and 6 December in 2005.
This image shows that David Davis gave Cameron a run for his money. As you can see in the first ballot, David Davis came out on top.
The contestants were David Cameron (Witney), David Davis (not to be confused with David Davies) of Haltemprice and Howden, Kenneth Clark, Rushcliffe, Notts and Liam Fox, MP for North Somerset.
Clark was eliminated in the first round and after Liam Fox was beaten, Davids Davis and Cameron went to the final with Cameron, who won and prime minister.
I wasn’t particularly aware of David Davis, however a quick look on Wickipedia suggests to me that it was a pity he didn’t become the Tory Leader. Wickpedia says:
On 12 June 2008, Davis unexpectedly announced his intention to resign as an MP, and was immediately replaced as Shadow Home Secretary. This was in order to force a by-election in his seat, for which he intended to seek re-election by mounting a specific campaign designed to provoke wider public debate about the erosion of civil liberties in the United Kingdom. Following his formal resignation as an MP on 18 June 2008, he officially became the Conservative candidate in the resulting by-election and won it on 10 July 2008. Davis was invited by Prime Minister David Cameron to join the cabinet of his coalition government, but he declined, staying on the backbenches to scrutinise and critique the government.
Therefore, in light of news about economics pertaining to our Premier, David Cameron, I am going to set out the registered interests of the four candidates below, from 2005-2006 at the time of the leadership race:
(almost fits on one page)
So was David Cameron’s much greater list, including £5,000 remuneration from the BBC, various flights, hospitality and helicopter journeys (which none of the other candidates received) and myriad personal donations towards his leadership contest down to his connections, his great personal charm or was he selling himself out to various private interests?
I suggest you draw your own conclusions by looking at what information parliament provides, and how this has evolved up to 2015, and the way in which this information is presented.
This web page is for the year 2005-2006, under a Labour government. It states the intention of this registry of personal interests very clearly and is on the actual website, in stead of on PDFs. More on these further below.
The various ministers are linked alphabetically, therefore, for David Cameron, you want CABLE – CLARKE
Here is the statement of intent on that page:
The Register of Members’ Interests is published soon after the beginning of a new Parliament, under the authority of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, and annually thereafter. Between publications the Register is regularly updated in a loose leaf form and, in that form, is available for public inspection in the Committee Office of the House of Commons. These amendments are also reflected in the Internet edition which is current as at 14 December 2005. Employment agreements deposited with the Registrar are available for personal inspection only.
Enquiries should be made to the office of the Registrar, 020 7219 0311.
Today, this information is presented very differently, with much well-intentioned rhetoric which tries to tell us how David Cameron wants MPs to behave with “propriety”, which if you look back at the Wickipedia information on David Davis (who wanted to raise discussions about the erosion of human rights in UK), I think he would have pressed for that without making such a public song and dance in the press about it.
Here is the main government page which carries the lists of MPs private interests. Notice the gap between 2013 and 2015, which happened to coincide with the run up to the last General Election.
Here is the PDF for 2015. It would be so much better on a searchable web page as it was in 2005.
Since the 2009 Expenses scandal, it seems to me that there have been a few shifts in the way this information is delivered to us.
Here is the introduction (which made cumbersome copying and pasting).
Ministerial CodeUnder the terms of the Ministerial Code, Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their Ministerial position and their private interests, financial or otherwise. On appointment to each new office, Ministers must provide their Permanent Secretary with a list in writing of all relevant interests known to them which might be thought to give rise to a conflict. As set out in the Ministerial Code, where appropriate, the Permanent Secretary will meet the Minister to agree the handling of interests.
As shown in my previous blog, MPs are obliged to declare their interests and yet the rules of conduct which could regulate whether they can go and debate and/or vote on an issue on which they have a conflict of interest is so lax as to not prevent this from happening. No one has been investigated, held up or let alone stopped from debating or voting on whatever they want.
Compare the above from the UK, with New Zealand. In New Zealand, the Cabinet Office works proactively to reduce opportunities for MPs to abuse their powers by acting in a conflict of interest. Here is their webpage.
Here is the first item on New Zealand’s Cabinet Office’s list on how they deal with conflict of interest:
|Minister’s name||Matter at issue||Nature of conflict||Action taken|
|Hon Bill English||Potential conflict, as Minister of Finance, between role as the Crown shareholder in Air New Zealand Limited and responsibility for providing the Finance portfolio perspective on aviation policy and regulation.||Portfolio||Responsibilities as Minister of Finance in relation to aviation policy and regulation transferred to Hon Steven Joyce on 17 December 2014.
(Replaced transfer of 28 February 2012 to Hon Steven Joyce.)
As a consequence of transfer: Mr English will not receive papers; Treasury reports to and works with Mr Joyce directly on the specified matter; Mr Joyce, and other Ministers with aviation regulatory interests, bring aviation policy and regulatory issues to Cabinet without any input from Mr English; Mr English brings to Cabinet any ownership issues relating to Air New Zealand; if a matter arises at Cabinet which conflicts with Mr English’s responsibility for the Crown shareholding in Air New Zealand to the extent it is inappropriate for him to stay, he will declare an interest and withdraw.
Back to the UK and Cameron (after that breath of fresh air). Even the Torygraph have reported on the mysterious gap of 18 months in which Cameron’s government did not publish their list of MPs private interests
In conclusion, we need to focus on getting people who govern the UK to stick to their word and put the public’s interest first and keep their own self-interest out of politics. One way would be to send the New Zealand web page to your MP and ask them why this isn’t happening in the UK.
Lastly, Cameron is patron of 40 charities and has18 other relevant interests such as chairman, vice chairman, president, vice president, honorary member, Trustee etc. (Have a look on the 2015 PDF)
Beside the annual registration of interests, there is the monthly list of ministers interests (which is for March 2016 and therefore only might only be additional ones added to an existing complete list.
It is proving hard to find the whole picture of all an MPs interests, which makes holding them to account even more difficult. Can we trust them to ‘ensure that no conflict arises’? I seriously doubt it. There is no one else ensuring they are not acting in self interest, so it is up to you to challenge your MP now.
Russia TV have done a video about how Cameron could be bought and sold