Commissioner accepts MP made a “mistake”

Phil Boswell MP
Phil Boswell MP

The Westminster Parliamentary Standards Commissioner found Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Phil Boswell did break rules on registering financial interests, but accepted it was a “genuine mistake”.

Mr Boswell was reported by Liberal Democrat activist Paul McGarry for failing to register his directorship of the firm Boswell & Johnston Ltd.

Mr Boswell’s understanding of the Code of Conduct was that as the company hadn’t traded for four years prior to his election he didn’t have to register it.

He said: “I was not required by the Code to register my directorship in Boswell & Johnston Ltd unless “(I) consider that someone might reasonably consider (it) to influence my actions or words as an MP on an ongoing basis”.

“The company ceased treading in 2011, so I did not consider that it would be reasonable for an individual to consider this would influence my actions or words, and as such I was compliant with the Code of Conduct.”

The Commissioner stated Mr Boswell should have recorded it, but felt no further action was required.

He wrote: “Mr Boswell has apologised for this breach of the rules which he says arose because he had misunderstood the rules.

“I accept this was a genuine mistake and not an attempt to conceal his financial interests.

“Mr Boswell has agreed that the relevant entry in the register of Members’ Financial Interests should be italicised for a period of 12 months by way of rectification.

“I accept Mr Boswell has made an acceptable response and that the rectification action is sufficient to bring the matter to a close.”

Mr Boswell was pleased to have the matter resolved.

He said: “The Commissioner has determined the omission from my register of interests was a genuine error.

“I apologise unreservedly for misinterpreting the guidance and appreciate the professionalism of the Commissioner for Standards throughout this process.”

Mr Boswell still faces an investigation by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Association (IPSA) into a complaint about his use of expenses.