Senior Tory Lee Anderson broke MPs’ code by filming on Commons roof
Lee Anderson, the Conservative party’s deputy chair, has been found to have broken parliamentary rules by filming a promotional clip for his GB News programme from the roof of the House of Commons.
The senior Tory apologised and promised not to do it again after admitting having breached the MPs’ code of conduct by being filmed on the roof terrace and sending an email advertising his programme from his parliamentary email address.
Using Parliament Square and Whitehall as the backdrop, the MP for Ashfield had asked viewers to get in touch with their problems for a chance to appear on his weekly show.
He is paid £100,000 a year by GB News for eight hours’ work a week. On his debut show in June, he described Brexit as a “great decision”, interviewed guests such as the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and spoon-fed baked beans to his fellow Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith in a taste test of different brands.
Daniel Greenberg, the standards commissioner, said Anderson had breached the rules on both counts and he would accept an apology and an undertaking not to repeat the behaviour.
In a report published on his website, Greenberg said: “I consider that by making an unauthorised commercial video for your television programme on the GB News channel, you have breached … the code. I also consider that by using your parliamentary email address to send newsletters, via an online distribution platform, which include advertisements for your television programme for GB News, you have breached … the code.”
Anderson immediately apologised for breaching the rules over the filming in parliament but initially tried to claim he had not used his parliamentary email address. He later accepted the findings of the commissioner in full, and paid the House of Commons authorities for having used the estate for filming.
The MPs’ code of conduct states: “Excepting modest and reasonable personal use, members must ensure that the use of facilities and services provided to them by parliament, including an office, is in support of their parliamentary activities, and is in accordance with all relevant rules.”
At the time, a House of Commons spokesperson said of the promotional video: “Unauthorised photography or filming is not permitted on the parliamentary estate. Where it is seen or reported to be happening, the individual in question will be asked to stop and reminded of the rules. Where breaches are observed or reported, the serjeant at arms will discuss with (or write to) the member involved to confirm the rules.”