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Parliament’s standards commissioner Kathryn Stone has exonerated Mr Rees-Mogg after a probe into directors’ loans worth £6 million borrowed from Mr Rees-Mogg’s company Saliston Limited between 2018 and 2020.
She ruled that the loans were “connected solely” to Mr Rees-Mogg’s “private and personal life” and could not “reasonably be thought” to influence his “actions, speeches or votes in Parliament”.
Commons leader Mr Rees-Mogg said he was “grateful to the commissioner for swiftly rejecting this accusation”.
I am grateful to the Commissioner for swiftly rejecting this accusation.
“Who steals my purse steals trash…
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.”https://t.co/vEK51EHDN2
— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) December 22, 2021
Sharing the outcome of the conduct investigation on Twitter the Conservative MP for North East Somerset quoted Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello.
He wrote: “Who steals my purse steals trash… but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed.”
In her reasoning behind the decision, Ms Stone said: “It is my decision that these loans were connected solely to your private and personal life.”
She added: “I am also not satisfied that these loans could reasonably be thought by others to influence your actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or your actions taken in your capacity as a Member of Parliament; as such, it is my conclusion that these loans do not fit with the spirit or purpose of registration.”
The standards commissioner said that “no breach of paragraph 14” of the MPs code of conduct had taken place.
Paragraph 14 of the code says that MPs must declare earnings as a director or employee for organisations outside of Parliament, including “taxable expenses, allowances and benefits such as company cars”.
The decision to investigate Mr Rees-Mogg came after Labour demanded an investigation into the loans of £2.94 million a year, which the party said he did not declare properly.
In November, the opposition party called for Ms Stone to follow up on claims in the Mail On Sunday that the Cabinet minister failed to declare director’s loans from Saliston.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner separately wrote to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, Lord Geidt, over the matter.
In her letter, Mr Rayner said that failing to declare director’s loans worth £2.94 million a year “allowed Mr Rees-Mogg to borrow a large sum of money at a very low interest rate” and argued that it “should have been declared”.