Tory MP Lucy Allan reported to parliamentary standards commissioner. But will she take action?
A Conservative MP accused of doctoring a constituent’s email to add a death threat has been reported to the parliamentary commissioner for standards.
Lucy Allan is believed to have added the words "unless you die" to a critical message from a member of the public, which she reposted on Facebook some two weeks ago.
The Telford MP has previously insisted the threat was real and from a different conversation. But her office told the Shropshire Star: "There is no requirement for any MP to explain or provide running commentary on every Facebook posting."
Yesterday the strange tale took another twist as it emerged that Allan had apparently launched a late-night Facebook rant, targeting a "small group of bully boy councillors, thugs and henchmen".
She also put out a video message but then deleted both the online diatribe and the film from her Facebook page.
What could she be getting at? It is understood that Allan has received a genuine death threat which police are investigating.
One of the Labour councillors named in the Facebook post declined to comment publicly, but told TP he only occasionally dealt with Allan and insisted that did not know why he had been singled out by her.
"I speak to her from time to time – these days it’s always about cuts. I’ll say: ‘They’re cutting too much, c’mon – have a word with somebody.’ It’s my job to work with the MPs and I try to. But I’m surprised about what she’s been saying online... I don’t know why she would say that."
Over the past week or so, a petition has been going around Allan's constituency calling on her to resign. Now it has also emerged that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has received at least one complaint relating to Allan.
A spokesperson for the commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, confirmed that the body has received one or more complaints, but would not be drawn on the number.
The spokesperson told TP that no formal inquiry was under way. She would not say whether or not an inquiry into the MP for Telford would be launched in the future...
It seems that an inquiry would only get the green light if Allan was deemed to have breached the House of Commons Code of Conduct.
The Commissioner will only accept complaints from named individuals – and not from an organisations or anonymous sources.
The Commissioner will then only investigate alleged breaches of the 'rules of conduct' set out in part V of the official code of conduct for MPs. Part V of the code states:
- Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.
- No Member shall act as a paid advocate in any proceeding of the House.
- The acceptance by a Member of a bribe to influence his or her conduct as a Member, including any fee, compensation or reward in connection with the promotion of, or opposition to, any Bill, Motion, or other matter submitted, or intended to be submitted to the House, or to any Committee of the House, is contrary to the law of Parliament.
- Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members' Financial Interests. They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with Ministers, Members, public officials or public office holders.
- Information which Members receive in confidence in the course of their parliamentary duties should be used only in connection with those duties. Such information must never be used for the purpose of financial gain.
- Members are personally responsible and accountable for ensuring that their use of any expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters. Members shall ensure that their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone else, or confer undue advantage on a political organisation.
- Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.
It's fair to say the the festive season has not been a bundle of joy for Allan thus far. Could it get any worse? Watch this space...
Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register.