UK Politics

MP says sorry for failing to declare £400,000 earnings

Geoffrey Cox Image copyright PA

Conservative MP Geoffrey Cox has publicly apologised after failing to declare to the Commons more than £400,000 in earnings.

The Commons Standards Committee found the MP had committed a "serious" breach of parliamentary rules.

Mr Cox said he had not intended to hide the payments for legal work, but had instead missed the deadline to declare.

The Torridge and West Devon MP also stepped down from the Standards Committee.

Mr Cox received 11 payments totalling more than £400,000 between January and August last year, but he did not declare them until the end of September - breaching the 28-day deadline.

Mauritius law firm

He blamed the ill-health retirement of the head clerk at his chambers for the "oversight".

He failed to notice the problem earlier because he had spent the summer recess launching "an entirely new international law chambers based in Mauritius and Dubai", he said.

The Commons Standards Committee report said it accepted Mr Cox had no intention to hide the payments.

"Nevertheless, as the commissioner notes, the number of payments and the sums involved in the late registration are significant - and Mr Cox was in a position which should have ensured that he was more familiar with the rules and the relevant principles of public life in this area than other Members might be," it said.

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