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Voters Must Know Ministers’ Financial Affairs Before May Elections, Labour Says

  • April 15, 2021

Labour has urged the government to publish the list of government ministers’ financial affairs after Michael Gove hinted that it could be delayed again.

Shadow cabinet ministers Rachel Reeves and Angela Rayner said a failure to publish the register before the May 6 elections risked voters thinking the Tories “could be covering up possible conflicts of interest”.

Their call came amid questions over ministers’ roles in the Greensill lobbying scandal and about who paid for the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

It follows Michael Gove last month hinting that there could be further delays in compiling a new register of interests, which was last published in July 2020 despite the ministerial code requiring it to be released “twice yearly”.

In a letter to Reeves two weeks ago, seen by HuffPost UK, Gove stressed that the list “has not always been published in a 6-monthly sequence” and pointed out that it was not published in 2014 or 2012, and was only published once in 2015 and 2018.

HuffPost UK understands that the government will within days appoint a replacement for Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser for ministers’ interests who quit last year after the prime minister overruled his advice that Priti Patel’s behaviour towards Home Office staff constituted bullying and breached the ministerial code.

That should pave the way for the publication of a new list of interests.

But the government has still not committed to meeting the requirement for publishing it twice a year.

In a response to Gove, shadow Cabinet Office minister Reeves and Labour deputy leader Rayner said: “The register of ministers’ interests is crucial for the integrity of the government, not least because of the fallout from the Greensill scandal but also because of growing concerns around conflicts of interest and the source of funding for the refurbishment of the prime minister’s flat.

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