Daniel Kawczynski is Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham. Here he shares the letter he has written this week to John Lyon, the the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, seeking an investigation into a Labour MP allegedly using parliamentary facilities for his own commercial benefit.
Dear Mr Lyon,
I write to request your attention with regards to a matter that has caused me considerable frustration. I hope that given the flagrant disregard shown towards the rules governing the Parliamentary estate, you will investigate the following matter and take the serious action the situation warrants.
On March 8th, from 18:00 – 20:00, the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House was booked for a private event by the Hon member for Newport West, Mr Paul Flynn MP. It is my understanding however that the event in question is promoting the honourable member’s book that has recently been published.
The rules of the House with regards room bookings are clear, and to quote the Parliamentary commissioner for standards:
The Rules on booking rooms make clear that they can be booked for purposes connected to the Parliamentary duties of the Member booking the room. This excludes "events of a commercial nature."
Any disregard of these rules causes me great frustration, as it brings the House, through use of its facilities by members, into disrepute; causing the standing of Parliament to fall even further in the eyes of the electorate. This case becomes even more pertinent to myself as in my own endeavours to be as transparent and accountable as possible in using facilities that have been funded by the taxpayer, I recently held the launch of my book, a biography of Colonel Gaddafi, at the Royal Institute of Mechanical Engineers on Birdcage Walk. This I did at considerable cost as I felt and was indeed advised by Commons Authorities that to use a room in the Commons to launch my book would be inappropriate and an abuse of taxpayers' money.
For Mr Flynn to be able to use facilities on the Parliamentary estate in order to host an event which promotes his own book I find to be a blatant breach of Commons rules and is wholly unacceptable.
I implore you therefore to take up this matter with the honourable member, as I believe him to be entirely culpable for breaching regulations governing the use of rooms on the Parliamentary estate. Should this be the case, I feel the right course of action would be for the member to be invoiced with the equivalent rates for hiring the same sized room for duration of two hours in a central London location in SW1A.
I sincerely hope that this matter will be dealt with the utmost seriousness and vigour, and I look forward very much to receiving your response in due course.
Daniel Kawczynski MP