UK

MP Charlotte Leslie Could Face Investigation Over Failure To Declare Donations

17/04/2014 19:29 BST | Updated 17/04/2014 23:59 BST

A Conservative MP could face an investigation over her failure to declare cash donations, after a complaint was made to a Westminster standards watchdog.

The office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards confirmed on Thursday it had received a letter of complaint on Charlotte Leslie.

A spokeswoman for the commissioner said the letter would be looked at before a decision is taken on whether or not to begin an inquiry.

charlotte leslie

Charlotte Leslie offered 'heartfelt apologies' for failing to declare cash donations

The MP for Bristol North West offered her "heartfelt apologies" in the House of Commons last week for failing to declare cash donations in the register of members' interests.

She told MPs she had asked three written parliamentary questions, made her maiden speech, one intervention and asked a question to a select committee witness without declaring a "potentially relevant interest" on the register.

Ms Leslie said the donations to her local Conservative Party had already been declared to the Electoral Commission when they were discovered not to be on the MPs' register last August.

Her office said the "potentially relevant" donations are £12,000 linked to the Bristol Port Company and £2,500 from Theodore Agnew.

Ms Leslie, who was elected in May 2010, also told the Commons she had not personally benefited financially.

She added she took full responsibility for not submitting the details in a "timely fashion" despite seeking to have extra administrative support as a result of being registered dyslexic.

A spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards said: "We have received a letter of complaint about Charlotte Leslie.

"We will look at that letter and decide whether or not to begin an inquiry."

The spokeswoman was unable to provide more details about the complaint.

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Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, told the BBC last week he planned to refer Ms Leslie to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

But Mr David confirmed he was not the person who sent the letter of complaint.

Ms Leslie said last week that the three written parliamentary questions she referenced in her apology were asked in 2012 and 2013 and were about the proposed Severn Barrage.

She also said she referenced the port in her maiden speech in June 2010 and in an intervention to a Westminster Hall debate in January 2011.

At this stage, Ms Leslie had not highlighted on the MPs' register a £10,000 donation from David Ord Ltd and £2,000 from First Corporate Shipping Ltd, which own the Bristol Port Company and has opposed the barrage plans.

Meanwhile, Ms Leslie also explained last week that Mr Agnew appeared as a witness before the Education Select Committee in 2011, a period when she was a member.

Ms Leslie said the donations were made to the Bristol North West Conservatives.

In a statement released on Thursday night, Ms Leslie said: "I'm very happy to comply with anything the Standards Commissioner wants if she chooses to pursue an investigation.

"I reiterate that all donations to my local party have always been available publicly on the Electoral Commission website; I have not benefited personally financially from any parliamentary questions I have asked.

"Indeed it would have been remiss of me as an MP in the Bristol region not to ask questions regarding the Severn Barrage, as this was an issue attracting concerns from several major environmental groups as well as cross-party MPs.

"I have acted as soon as possible on realising my serious administrative error, have made concerted efforts to be as open as possible about any errors I have made, and would be very happy to continue to do so, since I have already made every effort to make any shortcomings on my part completely open."