Justice Secretary Jack Straw is facing complaints over a £3,000 payment from an international energy firm towards the cost of a party to mark his quarter-century as an MP, it emerged.
Conservative MP Ben Wallace has asked the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to look into the payment, which was not recorded in registers of MPs' interests or donations to parties.
But a spokesman for Mr Straw said the Blackburn MP voluntarily informed the Commons about the company's assistance in a written response to a parliamentary question more than two years ago.
Canatxx Ventures helped pay for the 25th anniversary dinner organised by Mr Straw's constituency party at Blackburn Rovers' Ewood Park stadium in 2004.
But Mr Straw's spokesman said that the party was not a fund-raising event, and the then Foreign Secretary had to dip into his own pocket to cover a loss from the evening.
The Sunday Times reported that Canatxx was involved at the time in a plan to build a £300 million gas storage facility in Lancashire, near Mr Straw's constituency.
Mr Wallace told the paper: "Jack Straw quite clearly benefited from this donation and it should have been properly registered."
The Tory MP asked a parliamentary question in 2006 about whether Mr Straw had accepted hospitality from Canatxx, and received the response: "No. The honourable member might however wish to be aware that Canatxx was one of the sponsors of a dinner in April 2004 to mark my (then) 25 years as member for Blackburn. My department was not involved in any way in this event."
Mr Straw's spokesman said: "Mr Straw has never had any involvement with Canatxx's business whatsoever. Not before the event referred to, during it or after it. He was asked some questions about the event by Ben Wallace MP by letter in 2006 and replied, apparently to Mr Wallace's satisfaction.
"The information about Canatxx's sponsorship of the event in 2004 is public and has been for two and half years. Mr Straw volunteered the information that this company had sponsored the event to Parliament in 2006. He did so in a Parliamentary written answer, providing information which was not even germane to the question.
"Issues about the interpretation of the rules regarding the registration of such sponsorship are a matter for the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary commissioner for standards.
"Mr Straw understands from the Sunday Times that Ben Wallace MP has referred this matter to the parliamentary commissioner. He has not been contacted about this by Mr Wallace.
"If this is the case, any requests from the parliamentary commissioner for any records relating to this event will of course be made available by Blackburn Labour Party and Mr Straw."
Mr Wallace told the Press Association: "The question is why would a company that he has allegedly never met with and never had any connection with suddenly, out of the blue, donate £3,000 to a party in Blackburn, which it also has no connection with?
"There was a member of the company present at that dinner. At the same time, the Lancashire County Council are considering their planning application. There are questions to be asked. How many Labour councillors were there? Were they on the same table as the Canatxx representative?"
Mr Wallace added: "At the very least, Mr Straw benefited from the donation and he should have declared it in the register of interests and either he or the constituency Labour Party should have declared it to the Electoral Commission.
"The reason I have raised the issue now is that we have got some new evidence about the value of the donation, and this company has now resubmitted its application."Reuse content