Baroness Warsi is cleared of serious ministerial code breach

  • @oliver_wright

The Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi was today cleared of using her position as a minister to inappropriately help a second cousin with whom she had a business interest.

Baroness Warsi, was reported to the independent adviser on ministerial interests after allegations in a Sunday newspaper that she had invited Abid Hussain on a Government trip to Pakistan in 2010, without declaring they had stakes in the same firm.

But Sir Alex Allan concluded that while Baroness Warsi should have made officials aware of her business relationship with Mr Hussain there had been nothing inappropriate about the trip and neither stood to gain from it.

“This was not a trade-related visit; Rupert’s Recipes (the company) does not do any business in Pakistan and there was no financial benefit to either Baroness Warsi or Mr Hussain,” he wrote.

Sir Alex added that Mr Hussain was not a member of the official delegation, no part of his travel or other costs were met by the British government, and no arrangements were made by her office or the British High Commission for Mr Hussain to meet politicians in Pakistan.

“I am satisfied that, had she declared her business relationship, that would not have been seen as a barrier to Mr Hussain helping to organise the visit,” he concluded.

Sir Alex’s findings will be a relief to Baroness Warsi. However she still faces investigation by the Lords Commissioner for Standards over allegations that she was claiming expenses while staying with a friend in West London.

Reacting to Sir Alex’s report David Cameron said he satisfied with the conclusion he has reached that at no point did she use her office for any personal financial gain.

“Baroness Warsi is a great asset in building our reputation overseas and representing the British Government abroad in her role as Minister without Portfolio," he added.

In a statement Baroness Warsi added: “I have always maintained that I have never misused my ministerial office for personal or financial gain. The allegations on this matter were untrue and unsubstantiated and I am pleased that Sir Alex Allan’s report has confirmed that. The last month has been a difficult time for me and my family and I am pleased I can now move on from this period and get on with the job that I am privileged to do.”