UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Friday, August 29, 2003 

Parliament's Members' Interests Committe and J. Browne

We have now unearthed an authoritative reference source for the events which led to MP John Browne being described as disgraced by "Britain in Europe".

A paper by Robert Kaye titled A Life-Cycle for Watchdogs prepared for ESCR Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political Science and is available in pdf format from this link Robert Kaye.

The relevant section on the inquiries into John Browne can be found on pages 9-11. Most relevant excerpts follow:-

......the resulting inquiry involved five sessions of evidence taking and thirteen deliberative meetings, each running to around three hours or more.
Journalist David Leigh, who had been pursuing Browne in the Observer, alleged that Browne had:

1. failed to register a substantial shareholding a company marketing his own services;
2. when speaking in the House on satellite and cable broadcasting, failed to declare interests in companies which would benefit.
3. failed to register an interest from an offshore trust of which he was the main discretionary beneficiary;
4. failed to register a number of payments from foreign sources, in particular a payment of $88,000 from the Saudi Arabian central bank [SAMA];
5. failed to register an interest in a firm of consultants whilst lobbying ministers on behalf of its clients 42 .

it remained for the individual MP to judge the relevance of an interest . So an MP like Brown could justify his inactions:
In making my own declaration, I reasoned as follows … Would any domestic or overseas payment influence my parliamentary actions or conduct? […] My answer is ‘No’. Therefore the payments were not declared .

Essentially, where there was doubt, Browne gave himself the benefit of it, and given the closerelationship between his financial interests and his parliamentary activity, he seems to have been excessively generous in doing so. Even the Committee found that Browne’s parliamentary actions were influenced by outside interests.

Cumulatively, the Committee examined nine separate aspects of Leigh’s complaint, and added one of its own. It firmly rejected four of these; firmly upheld three; and failed to make a specific finding on three. Of these final three, it recommended that Browne should now disclose the interest in two cases, and found “some substance” in a third.

The Committee made the following recommendation to the full House of Commons :-

“your Committee recommends that the House should decide at an early date what action it proposes to take in the light of the serious nature of those of our findings which uphold the complaints against Mr. Browne”.

In such a manner did Mr John Browne become disgraced. Such would not deter Nigel Farage from becoming his strongest supporter within UKIP, hailing him as an ex-MP and therefore a valuable acquisition and pushing him towards the Falmouth Constituency, cosidered as one of the most attractive potential gains for UKIP.

Even in the early months of this year the pressure to force this surely and clearly unelectable failed politician onto reluctant UKIP constituencies has been maintained. Just when will the everyday UKIP membership wake up to the dreadful things going on in their name, and the supposed cause of opposing the EU.

posted by Martin |7:11 PM
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