Gould calls for payment of pounds 10,000 under gifts rule

A MINIMUM of pounds 10,000 should be paid by David Mellor to the Exchequer to conform to ministerial rules on the acceptance of gifts, Bryan Gould, his Opposition shadow, said last night.

Mr Gould said that the free 1989-90 holidays enjoyed by Mr Mellor and his family - in the Persian Gulf, as the guest of Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi; and Marbella, as the guest of Mona Bauwens - were worth at least pounds 10,000.

Yet the ministerial guidance on such matters, Questions of Procedure for Ministers, states that when gifts cannot be refused 'without the risk of apparent discourtesy', then 'certain rules apply'. Those rules say: 'Gifts of small value (currently this should be put at up to pounds 125) may be retained by the recipient.

'Gifts of a higher value should be handed over to the department for disposal, except that (i) the recipient may purchase the gift at its cash value (abated by pounds 125); (ii) If the recipient wishes to reciprocate with, and pay for, a gift of equivalent value, the gift may be retained . . . '

Mr Gould said last night: 'These rules were established to protect standards of conduct in public life and David Mellor's lack of concern for these rules creates a picture of a minister who was prepared to use ministerial power for his own personal pleasure.' He said that pounds 10,000 was 'a fairly conservative estimate' of what the two holidays would have cost, and added: 'He's got to account to somebody, in this case the Treasury, for the gifts he has received.'

But in a letter to Mr Gould last night, John Major endorsed Mr Mellor's decision not to refer to the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, his family holiday in 1990 paid for by Mrs Bauwens.

'The guidance says that a minister should not accept gifts or hospitality which would, or might appear to, put him or her under an obligation,' Mr Major wrote.

'It makes clear that this is primarily a matter which is left to the discretion of ministers, although in cases of doubt or difficulty ministers are encouraged to consult the prime minister. So it is not the case that ministers are required to report all gifts or hospitality to the prime minister.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence