Lord Fink: Tory treasurer faces parliamentary standards investigation.

I have written to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards to ask him to investigate whether Lord Fink has breadhed the House of Lords Code of Conduct. My letter to Mr Kernaghan is reproduced below:

Mr Paul Kernaghan CBE QPM
The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards,
House of Lords,
London,

SW1A 0PW
 
19 June 2012

Dear Mr Kernaghan,  
 
I am writing to ask you to investigate the conduct of Lord Fink in light of the recent allegations in the Independent newspaper and subsequent allegations across a range of media.

In particular, I am contacting you to ask you to investigate whether Lord Fink, in his position as both a member of the House of Lords and as the Conservative Party Treasurer, breached the House of Lords Code of Conduct when he sought to use the access his position in the Lords gives him to taxpayer funded property to host a private corporate event.
 
The Independent reported yesterday that Lord Fink had arranged “to host a private dinner in the House of Lords for paying American Express card-holders”. The dinner was advertised on the AmEx website as a “one-of-a kind opportunity to advance your lifestyle”, and “the $9,391 (£6,000) package offered two full days of tennis, accommodation in the Dorchester, a drinks reception with John McEnroe – and the House of Lords dinner.”
 
These allegations are very worrying as it appears that Lord Fink may have been using his position to provide access to the House of Lords as part of a paid-for corporate package, potentially giving the damaging impression that you can buy access to the House of Lords and bringing Parliament into disrepute as a result of his actions.

The House of Lords Code of Conduct, point 9(a) states: 

Selflessness: Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends”.

In addition, the room booking guidelines in the House of Lords state:

with the exception of launches for books written by Members or book primarily about them, such   rooms may not be used to promote Members’ outside interest”. It is clear that Lord Fink was promoting outside interests.

I hope that you will now examine these significant allegations and any subsequent disclosures to ensure that an investigation is carried out as fully as possible.
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Yours sincerely,

Jon Trickett MP

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office.

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