MP Sir Kevin Barron stands aside over standards controversy

MP Sir Kevin Barron has stood aside from his post on a Parliamentary ethics committee over allegations he hosted events at Westminster for a drugs firm.

The Rother Valley MP, who has represented the constituency for 33 years, has stepped down as chairman of the Commons Standards Committee.

Sir Kevin has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, after allegations in The Telegraph that he received fees in return for hosting the events - an apparent breach of the rules.

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But, in a letter to Ms Hudson, he said fees he received as an advisor to the Japanese Pharmaceutical Group were paid to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston.

Sir Kevin said: “My own understanding is, due to the fact I made no personal gain and all the fees were paid to a charity, I had not breached the rules on usage of parliamentary facilities for personal or business use.

“It is a matter of record that I followed the rules in registering this interest and deposited an agreement for the provision of services, as the rules required.

“In light of the allegations I may have breached House of Commons code of conduct or rules, I refer myself to you for you to consider whether any breaches of the rules or the code of conduct have taken place.”

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A spokeswoman for the cross-party Standards Committee said Sir Kevin was standing aside from its work “until the matter is resolved”.

The Commons code of conduct says that “members shall ensure their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone else.”