EXCLUSIVE- Has Iain Duncan Smith broken House of Commons rules?
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Former Work and Pensions Secretary and architect of Universal Credit, Iain Duncan Smith may have broken rules that require MPs to register their financial interests. Despite being a company director for the think tank he founded, it does not appear on his register of financial interests.
Duncan Smith is well known to have founded the think tank; The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), he often advocates their work in parliament and in media interviews.
However, the former Tory leader may have fallen fowl to the strict rules that require MPs to register any financial interests they have.
Duncan Smith is currently listed as a director of Centre for Social Justice Limited (CSJ) on the Companies House website. It shows that he has held this position since September 2016.
When looking at his registered financial interests on the Parliament website, there is plenty of income to see from newspaper articles and speaking engagements, but not one mention of CSJ.
The website gives this reason why MPs must register any interests;
“The main purpose of the Register is to provide information about any financial interest which a Member has, or any benefit which he or she receives, which others might reasonably consider to influence his or her actions or words as a Member of Parliament.“
Whether or not Duncan Smith receives any financial reimbursement from CSJ is unclear. However, if you look through other MPs interests a clear pattern emerges.
Even if it’s unpaid, they still list it. Even Smith’s prodigy, Esther McVey lists two unpaid directorships.
Since the expenses scandal MPs want to be more transparent, but Duncan Smith doesn’t seem to agree.
Clear evidence CSJ influences IDS
It is blatantly clear that the Centre for Social Justice ‘influences his actions and or words in Parliament’, as he is well known to advocate their research and policies.
It is from their research that Universal Credit was born.
When he became Work and Pensions Secretary, he stepped down as director as it was clearly a conflict of interest. But, upon resigning he immediately took up directorship again.
It is important to note that in the entire time he has been an MP, he has NEVER registered the think tank with Parliament.
His current directorship spans two Parliaments as, he was in position before the 2017 general election.
So the question is, why hasn’t he? It seems a fairly standard thing to do.
I have written to the relevant body in Parliament so as they look into it but even if he is found to have broken the rules, we can expect little to be done.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt failed to register a substantial property holding and got off with it and recently, Boris Johnson was just told to apologise to the Commons when he “overlooked” registering a book deal.
My issue here is this;
Duncan Smith has used The CSJ as a vehicle to push his policies into becoming reality. For him to simply not register it unacceptable.
When he appeared in front of the Work and Pensions Committee in August he cited their work.
Their program manager frequently interacts with other MPs. Lib Dem leader Vince Cable recently held a talk with them.
Despite being responsible for Universal Credit and the majority of Welfare Reforms, their name is totally missing from any records.
It makes you wonder why the multi million pound think tank doesn’t want people looking into them…
I will update in a separate article when I learn more.
I tweeted about this at 7.30 last night and at the time Mr Smith was still showing on the board of directors on the CSJ website. I went to get the link for this article to suddenly find a 404 page not found. They have deleted the page. Make of that what you will.