Norfolk

MP Henry Bellingham told to apologise to House of Commons

Sir Henry Bellingham Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Sir Henry Bellingham was found to have made an inaccurate declaration of interest

A Tory MP has been told to apologise to the House of Commons for making an inaccurate declaration of interest.

The Commons Standards Committee said Sir Henry Bellingham, a trade envoy to Libya, declared he started working with an African mining company a month later than was the case.

During that period the North West Norfolk MP approached British diplomats to arrange meetings, it said.

But it ruled his "mistakes" were not at the "most serious end of the spectrum".

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone found Sir Henry had been open about his relationship with Clifton Africa when trying to arrange meetings with company representatives, despite the start date of his non-executive role being wrong in the Register of Members' Interests.

'Incredibly assiduous'

However, she said his registration of his role as an unpaid director of a subsidiary company, Clifton Resources, and the receipt of 3,000 shares in Clifton Africa were not made within the required 28 days.

The committee said he had taken "far too long" to correct the errors and as a consequence recommended he should make a written apology to the House.

Sir Henry said he had "always been incredibly assiduous about declaring actual payments" and the complaint related to a delay in updating information, during a time when he had been off sick.

He said: "I have obviously apologised unreservedly for the delay, and I am pleased and relieved that both the commissioner and the committee states that this delay was at the less serious end of the spectrum."

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