From ‘I’m a Celebrity to the Standards Commissioner: The Fall from Grace of Matt Hancock Has Only Just Begun”
Tory Sleaze: Matt Hancock among three MPs under investigation by Standards watchdog
Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, is among three Tory MPs who have been placed under investigation by parliament’s standards watchdog. The commissioner, Daniel Greenberg, has launched a series of inquiries into allegations of sleaze in the Tory Party.
Hancock is being investigated over allegations that he broke the MPs’ code of conduct by “lobbying the commissioner in a manner calculated or intended to influence his consideration” of whether a separate breach had been committed.
A spokesperson for Hancock denied any wrongdoing and claimed he was “surprised” by the move. They said that Hancock had written to Greenberg in good faith to offer additional evidence that he thought was pertinent and helpful for an inquiry the parliamentary commissioner for standards is currently conducting.
Hancock was stripped of the Conservative whip in autumn 2022 after appearing on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! while parliament was still sitting. The MP for West Suffolk was also found by the previous standards commissioner, Kathryn Stone, to have broken the rules by failing to declare a stake in a family company that won an NHS contract. She allowed him to avoid a sanction.
They’re all at it…
Meanwhile, Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South, is being investigated over the use of his parliamentary email. This comes after he was caught last week offering to lobby ministers and obtain early access to a sensitive government report for up to £4,000 a month.
Benton had the whip suspended last week after referring himself to the standards commissioner. Of course, he referred himself only after a he had been caught out by undercover reporters from the Times who were posing as representatives of a fake investment fund. Benton was seen laughing when he revealed how MPs could get away with not declaring hospitality.
In the footage, Scott Benton can be clearly heard offering to lobby ministers directly, share market-sensitive information, and ask questions in parliament on behalf of businesses. He also claimed he could leak a confidential policy paper and table parliamentary questions to promote the interests of his clients.
Henry Smith, a backbench Tory MP for 13 years, is also being investigated over an alleged breach of rules on using taxpayer-funded stationery. Smith is being investigated for an alleged breach of the rules on using taxpayer-funded stationery.
The Labour Party chair, Anneliese Dodds, said that the “constant drip-drip of Conservative sleaze” had “become a deluge”. She added that the British people would rightly look at the Conservatives and wonder why there is always one rule for them, and another for everyone else.
The investigations come at a time when the Tories are already facing scrutiny over allegations of sleaze and corruption. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the investigations will be, and whether they will further damage what’s left of the party’s reputation.
The Tories’ lust for corruption has long been a steady stream of immorality, but now it has burst its banks and flooded the halls of power with an insatiable appetite for deceit and sleaze. They preach the virtues of accountability and transparency, yet they happily wallow in the filth of their own double standards. The British people must ask themselves, how much more of this deluge of Tory sleaze can our democracy withstand?”