By Tom Winnifrith | Wednesday 24 November 2021
Yesterday I flagged up SpectrumX which is in administration but may well make a comeback and investors should not assume they have lost their cash. Time will tell. But what I can now confirm is how and why Tory Grandee, The Earl Of Shrewsbury, has most clearly broken the rules governing cash for questions and is now trying to cover up that fact.
The Earl is SpectrumX’s “Commercial advisor” and I can now confirm that invoices were issued and cash payments made but not by the Earl but by his wholly owned firm Talbot Consulting Ltd. The company says that the Earl is saying that in asking a series of House of Lords questions relating to hand gels – SpectrumX’s business – he has done nothing wrong since he declares in the register of interests that he is a director of Talbot and that will suffice.
Actually Companies House shows that the Good Earl and his Mrs are the only two directors and shareholders and Talbot has no other employees.
Up until yesterday this was The Good Earl’s entry in the register of interests.
But now, after my article appeared he has changed it to
Why the sudden overnight change your lordship? I suggest that it is because, whatever he says now, when he was asking a string of questions about hand sanitisers without declaring payments made by SpectrumX to his wholly owned company where he is the sole revenue generator, he was in clear breach of the rules which state:
12. In order to assist in openness and accountability members shall:
(a) register in the Register of Lords’ Interests all relevant interests, in order to make clear what are the interests that might reasonably be thought to influence their parliamentary actions;
(b) declare when speaking in the House, or communicating with ministers or public servants, any interest which is a relevant interest in the context of the debate or the matter under discussion;
© act in accordance with any rules agreed by the House in respect of financial support for members or the facilities of the House.
13. The test of relevant interest is whether the interest might be thought by a reasonable member of the public to influence the way in which a member of the House of Lords discharges his or her parliamentary duties: in the case of registration, the member’s parliamentary duties in general; in the case of declaration, his or her duties in respect of the particular matter under discussion.
14. The test of relevant interest is therefore not whether a member’s actions in Parliament will be influenced by the interest, but whether a reasonable member of the public might think that this would be the case. Relevant interests include both financial and non-financial interests.
15. Members are responsible for ensuring that their registered interests are accurate and up-to-date. They should register any change in their relevant interests within one month of the change.
The Earl of Shrewsbury is now attempting to cover up the fact that he has, over the past few months asked a series of questions in the Lords which benefitted a company which paid hard cash to his wholly owned company and did not declare an interest. If that is not sleaze, why change his entry in the register of member’s interests late last night?
This is Tory sleaze and the party needs to act on it or maybe if you are Harrow educated Charles Henry John Benedict Crofton Chetwynd Chetwynd-Talbot, 22nd Earl of Shrewsbury, 22nd Earl of Waterford, 7th Earl Talbot rules designed to prevent sleaze don’t matter as they are just for little people?