Revealed: the full register of MPs' interests

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The Independent Online
THE updated register of members' interests, which lists the consultancies, directorships, gifts, free travel and sponsorships of all 651 MPs, is published in full today by the Independent on Sunday.

The document was made available by MPs themselves despite warnings that in copying it they may have breached Commons guidelines. The register is published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office only once a year, in January.

But MPs are required to notify changes in their registrable interests within four weeks of them occurring. Updated versions of the register in looseleaf form are placed in the library of the House of Commons for MPs. They are available for public inspection only by appointment and no more than 20 sheets may be photocopied.

The document we publish today - as a 12-page supplement wrapped round the Business section - carries last Wednesday's date and reveals the full disclosures which MPs rushed to make in the last two weeks as the row over sleaze grew. It shows: MPs responsible for scrutinising their colleagues' interests have themselves declared a large number of shareholdings, overseas visits and renumerations.

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith, Tory chairman of the Interests Committee, holds four non- executive directorships, and parliamentary consultancies to three companies.

More than 50 MPs of various parties have recently taken fact-finding trips to Cyprus, mainly in April and September when the Cypriot weather is at its most agreeable.

Eleven Tory MPs, including Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, have invested in a loss-making shirt-shop owned by Harvey Proctor, who was MP for Billericay until 1987 when he was convicted of gross indecency.

Yesterday the Liberal Democrats' Chief Whip, Archie Kirkwood, called for a review of the guidelines so that the updated register would be easily available to members of the public and MPs, through computer technology.

Mr Kirkwood said that he had advised Liberal Democrat MPs that photocopying the entire register would constitute 'a technical, breach of the spirit of the motion which set up the register'. He added: 'The rules need to be revisited. The regulations are no longer appropriate. Through the proper channels we will be pushing for an amendment which removes these obstructions to access'.

Further reports, page 3

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