Rules on MPs’ use of Parliamentary stationery – call for “clarity”
A few weeks ago We reported that MP Dari Taylor had been reprimanded for misusing Parliamentary stationery bearing the official Parliamentary portcullis logo. Since then Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon has upheld some of the original complaints about Ms Taylor’s conduct brought by Tory MP James Wharton but has stopped short of recommending a total ban on any expression of support for a policy or position in letters using pre-paid envelopes or official stationery.
Instead the test should be whether a party political reference is “necessary to an understanding of the issue”, i.e. MPs should be able to make party and policy references if it is relevant to the query or complaint in question.
Nevertheless, MPs last year voted to give themselves a £10,000 allowance to bolster public understanding of Parliament and they also have an “incidental expenses provision”, worth about £20,000 a year, which can be used to buy office supplies. The committee therefore said restrictions on using funds for political activity needed clarification.