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HomeUK NewsJacob Rees-Mogg and Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross investigated by sleaze watchdog

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross investigated by sleaze watchdog

Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross are both being investigated by Westminster’s sleaze watchdog.

Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, is now looking into allegations against the pair of Tory MPs, according to an updated register of her current investigations.

It means there have now been three investigations launched by Ms Stone in the wake of Westminster’s recent sleaze row, which was prompted by the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal.

Both Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Ross are listed as being under investigation over the registration of interests related to employment and earnings.

Last month, Labour demanded Mr Rees-Mogg be probed over claims he failed to properly declare £6m in loans from one of his companies.

According to a Mail on Sunday report, Mr Rees-Mogg borrowed up to £2.94m a year in “director’s loans” from his UK-based Saliston Ltd between 2018 and 2020.

The newspaper said the money was primarily used to buy and refurbish his £5.6m home in Westminster.

Mr Rees-Mogg wholly owns Saliston and is listed as a “person with significant control” in Companies House records.

Saliston part-owns investment firm Somerset Capital Management Ltd, of which Mr Rees-Mogg is a shareholder and is the parent company of a Cayman Islands subsidiary.

Labour has called on the cabinet minister to “come clean” about all of his financial interests outside of parliament.

But Mr Rees-Mogg has insisted he has properly declared all his financial affairs.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “Saliston is 100 per cent owned by me. This is declared clearly in the Commons register and to the Cabinet Office.

“It has no activities that interact with government policy. The loans from 2018 were primarily taken out for the purchase and refurbishment of [my home] as temporary cash flow measures.

“All loans have either been repaid with interest in accordance with HMRC rules or paid as dividends and taxed accordingly.

“I have no managerial responsibility for Somerset Capital Management.

“However, I know that the Cayman company purely provides a fund for non-UK investors but any and all money it makes returns to Somerset Capital Management in the UK where it pays full UK taxes.”

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Meanwhile, Mr Ross recently reported himself to Ms Stone over previously undeclared earnings.

The Moray MP, who sits in both the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament, failed to register payments for his salary as an MSP, which he donates to charity, and his work as a football match official.

He was late in declaring payments worth £6,728.57 received for 16 football games. And he also failed to declare five months of his MSP salary, amounting to £8,607.

Mr Ross has since registered these payments with House of Commons authorities and apologised for the “error”.

Fresh scrutiny of MPs’ outside earnings began after the government attempted to save Tory ex-minister Mr Paterson from an immediate Commons suspension after he was found to have breached lobbying rules.

Mr Paterson has since quit as an MP and ended his £110,000 per year consultancy work.

Mr Rees-Mogg last month admitted he must “take my share of responsibility” for the government’s actions over Mr Paterson’s case, which they were forced to U-turn over following a furious backlash.

“I encouraged the prime minister to go down this route and I was wrong, I made a mistake,” he said.

A Commons committee has since recommended an “outright ban” on MPs providing paid parliamentary advice, consultancy or strategy services in response to the sleaze row.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey is the third MP to be investigated by Ms Stone since the sleaze row began.

He referred himself to the standards commissioner due to an “oversight” to his register of interests as an MP.

Sir Ed had already quit his consultancy roles advising on climate change issues, worth £78,000 per year, amid the focus on MPs’ second jobs.

He had been using the income to fund care for his severely disabled son.



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