Matt Hancock under investigation by MPs’ standards watchdog over claims he tried to influence Commissioner

The former health secretary has been paid large amounts for TV appearances since he resigned from government in 2021

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Matt Hancock is under investigation by the Parliamentary standards watchdog over allegations that he tried to influence the commissioner when he was considering a potential breach of the Code of Conduct.

Hancock is being investigated for allegedly “lobbying the Commissioner in a manner calculated or intended to influence his consideration of whether a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred”. No further details about the potential breach have been published, and the launch of an investigation does not mean that the rule in question has been broken.

The MPs code of conduct states that MPs “must not lobby a member of the Committee on Standards, the Independent Expert Panel or the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, or their staff, in a manner calculated or intended to influence their consideration of whether a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred, or in relation to the imposition of a sanction”.

This suggests that Hancock tried to influence the Parliamentary Commisioner for Standards, Daniel Greenberg, during the course of inquiries about either a potential breach by Hancock himself or another MP.

There are currently a range of sanctions that may be imposed on MPswho are found to have breached the rules. These include oral or written apologies, suspension of salary, suspension from the service of the House for a specified period, or expulsion.

Hancock resigned as Health Secretary in June 2021 after admitting to a breach of Covid rules, following the publication of pictures which showed him in close contact with Gina Coladangelo, who was then an aide at the Department for Health and Social Care and is now Hancock’s partner.

Since leaving office Hancock has registered significant outside earnings from media appearances and speeches. He was a runner up on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here last year, prompting dozens of complaints to the then Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone.

The commissioner has also announced investigations into Henry Smith and Scott Benton. Both MPs are alleged to have used facilities provided by the public purse, stationery in Smith’s case and a parliamentary email by Benton.

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