Keir Starmer investigated over potential Commons earnings and gift-rule breaches

Sir Keir Starmer has come under investigation by the parliamentary standards commissioner for potentially breaching Commons rules on earnings and gifts.

The Labour leader is being investigated under paragraph 14 of the parliamentary code of conduct, which covers the registration of MPs’ interests and the matter of being “open and frank” in such declarations.

The commissioner’s webpage, which announced the investigations on Monday, lists two matters for which Sir Keir is under investigation.

The first refers to “the registration of interests under category 1 of the Guide to the Rules”, which refers to MPs’ outside employment and earnings.

The second refers to “registration of interests under category 3 of the Guide to the Rules”, which refers to gifts, benefits and hospitality received by MPs from UK sources.

The Labour leader is one of three MPs currently under investigation by the standards commissioner. The other two are Andrew Bridgen, a Tory MP who is under investigation for alleged paid advocacy – or lobbying – as well as matters relating to his declaration of interests.

Another Conservative MP, Chris Philp, is also being investigated by the watchdog over possible improper use of his parliamentary email address.

It is unclear at this stage what exactly Sir Keir’s standards investigation relates to. He has previously registered significant outside earnings for legal work before becoming party leader.

Asked to respond to the news during a broadcast interview, Sir Keir said: “That’s an investigation that we’ll be responding to in due course.”

When he was asked what the investigation was about, he replied: “I’ll need to talk to my office about that, but we’ll be responding in due course.”

The Labour leader was asked whether the news had taken him by surprise, and responded: “No.”

Asked when he was made aware of the investigation, he replied: “All MPs are made aware of there any any concerns, and my office is dealing with it, and we’ll be replying in due course.”

He added that he was “Absolutely confident,” adding: “There’s no problem here.”

Parliament’s register of interests appears to show that Sir Keir has logged some of his outside earnings and hospitality later than the 28-day deadline all MPs must stick to.

These six late entries include royalties from his books and tickets to football games, and have a total value of £3,303.01.

The opposition leader has in recent months strongly criticised Boris Johnson for rule-breaking during lockdown, gaining political ground over the issue.

Labour colleagues told the media that their boss, in contrast to the prime minister, was “Mr Rules”, and highlighted that he was previously director of public prosecutions.

But the opposition leader last month received a questionnaire from Durham police over allegations that he too broke lockdown laws while on the campaign trail there last year. That police investigation, along with the investigation launched by the parliamentary standards commissioner, is yet to conclude.

Mr Johnson was meanwhile handed a £50 fixed penalty notice for breaching rules at Downing Street. He refused to resign, and also survived a no-confidence vote from his own MPs. Sir Keir has promised to resign if he is fined for any breach.

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