Jacob Rees-Mogg is being investigated by the parliamentary standards commissioner over an alleged breach of the MPs’ code of conduct, just weeks after he led efforts to abolish the watchdog.
Kathryn Stone announced that she is investigating a breach of paragraph 14 of the code, which requires MPs to make an “open and frank” disclosure of their financial interests in the Commons register.
The inquiry is understood to relate to a series of loans totalling £6 million made to Rees-Mogg by his company Saliston Limited between 2018 and 2020.
The leader of the Commons was reported to the commissioner by his Labour counterpart Thangam Debbonaire, who said the alleged loans would amount to “yet another egregious breach” of rules by a Tory MP.
Rees-Mogg was one of the central figures behind a botched attempt to scrap Stone’s office by appointing a Tory-dominated committee to rewrite the rules governing her inquiries.
He admitted last month that he had encouraged Boris Johnson to ram through an amendment putting aside a punishment recommended for disgraced former MP Owen Paterson, after Stone found him guilty of breaking sleaze rules.
Rees-Mogg owns Saliston, despite giving up his directorship in 2019. It has a stake in investment company Somerset Capital Management, the parent firm of Somerset Capital Management (Cayman) in the Cayman Islands.
Debbonaire said “Over the last few weeks, we have seen that Conservative MPs repeatedly act as if they can put their own private business interests ahead of their constituents and the prime minister must put a stop to this.
“It is right that the standards commissioner is investigating what appears to be yet another egregious breach of the rules, with Jacob Rees-Mogg failing to declare millions of pounds of directors’ loans.
“The prime minister also needs to investigate whether the ministerial code has been breached.
“Labour would strengthen the standards system, with a ban on directorships and paid consultancy, and the House of Commons must be given the chance to fully debate and approve measures put forward by the Standards Committee to toughen up the system”
Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, is also under investigation, having referred himself to the watchdog after failing to fully record his MSP salary and earnings as a football referee in the Westminster register of interests.