MPs fight back against entertainment controversy

Parliament's luxurious reception rooms are in constant use
Parliament's luxurious reception rooms are in constant use

By staff

MPs have denied any wrongdoing in the use of Commons rooms to entertain clients.

Data published yesterday by the Commons banqueting office suggested some MPs could be using the privilege for material gain, while other MPs were shown to have broken the rules.

David Cameron, for instance, failed to attend events he booked. A spokesman said today he had only made the mistake a handful of times and would not do it again.

Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt faced questions for her events with BT.

She hosted events for the company in December 2008 and February 2009 and became a non-executive director in March 2008.

Ms Hewitt said she acted in accordance with parliamentary rules.

John Denham, communities secretary, hosted a breakfast for AXA Derbak in June 2006, before he joined the Cabinet. In July 2006 he declared a one-off consultancy with AXA "to advise on a research project and publication on employer pension provision" for which he received up to £5,000.

In a statement, Mr Denham said: "The agreement to carry out the work, was made prior to, and entirely separate from, a second request to host a breakfast for the policy-making community, for which I was not paid.

"I was asked to host an event once the work was well under way and I was happy to agree to this, and to speak, as I was keen to encourage debate about the important issue of pension provision in the UK."


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