Maude should 'come clean' about Virgin trip
Francis Maude, the minister in charge of transparency in government, has been accused of hiding more than £3,000 worth of hospitality he received from Richard Branson's Virgin Media.
The Cabinet Office minister, whose "jerry can" gaffe last month contributed to the Government's "omnishambles", was a guest of the telecommunications giant at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last July.
Mr Maude is also responsible for the coalition's digital policy, raising questions over whether there is a conflict of interest. And the minister, in an article for his website as MP for Horsham, last month praised Virgin Media for "inspiring" the Government to launch a mentoring scheme.
Although Mr Maude's perk is declared on the Cabinet Office website, in accordance with the ministerial code, he has failed to record it on the Register of Members' Interests. The parliamentary rulebook states that "Ministers of the Crown who are Members of the House of Commons are subject to the rules of registration and declaration in the same way as all other members".
Last night the Cabinet Office insisted the minister had done nothing wrong. A spokesman said: "This Government is making information on hospitality available to the public that they were never able to access in the past, and will continue to do so. Any hospitality that is received as a minister has to be recorded in the ministerial list – and that is exactly what has happened here."
Asked whether the failure to declare the perk was consistent with Mr Maude's role, an aide said: "He takes transparency issues extremely seriously and is trying to make sure this Government is a world leader in transparency."
But the shadow Cabinet Office minister, Michael Dugher, said: "Francis Maude has very serious questions to answer as to whether he broke parliamentary rules.
"He cannot seriously say that his ministerial responsibilities have got anything to do with attending the Grand Prix with this company. So it looks like he has tried to pull a fast one by burying the fact that he attended the event with a cursory reference on the Cabinet Office website and by not declaring it with all the proper details in the Register of Members' Financial Interests.
"Francis Maude is always lecturing people about maximum transparency. He should practise what he preaches and come clean about this."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...