UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Reports have unveiled a comprehensive list of 41 Members of Parliament (MPs) who possess or hold an interest in shares from 17 publicly listed companies. Astonishingly, the majority of these shareholdings have remained undisclosed until this moment, shrouded in secrecy.
According to the regulations on parliamentary transparency, any shareholding exceeding £70,000 in value must be publicly declared. However, it is worth noting that the majority of the identified shares fall below this threshold.
Nevertheless, this report aims to provide the public with a complete list of MPs and their respective shareholdings, granting them a more comprehensive understanding of the financial interests held by their elected representatives. By shedding light on these previously hidden connections, we strive to enhance transparency and accountability within our democratic system.
Over 50 Members Of Parliament Own Stakes In Public-Listed Companies
More than 50 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the United Kingdom (UK) have been found to possess shares in publicly listed companies, raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest. These holdings, which have remained undisclosed until now, have come to light in a recent report by The Guardian on Sunday (July 9).
The report reveals that numerous MPs have investments in prominent banks, supermarkets, housebuilders, defense firms, and energy suppliers. Notable companies among these holdings include HSBC, Barclays, and BP.
The current parliamentary rules, which have remained unaltered since 2015, mandate Members of Parliament (MPs) to declare their ownership in a particular company if they possess over 15% of its shares or if the value of their shares exceeds $89,691 (£70,000).
Consequently, these rules have allowed MPs, including former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, to withhold the disclosure of their shareholdings in parliamentary registers. Unfortunately, this lack of transparency has left citizens unaware of certain financial interests held by their political leaders.
The MPs With Share Holdings
According to a report by The Guardian on Sunday, a number of Members of Parliament (MPs) were found to have shareholdings, including Robert Goodwill, the chair of the environment select committee, and Brendan, the SNP chief whip, among others. It is worth noting that all these holdings were below the specified threshold, as highlighted in the report.
Furthermore, the report revealed that the current UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, had a financial stake in National Grid until just two days prior to being selected as the Conservative candidate for his constituency.
In a similar vein, former Prime Minister Theresa May was found to have owned shares in BP during her tenure as the home secretary. Additionally, her husband held shares in BP, Barclays, BT, and Centrica during the same period. It is interesting to note that four months after May assumed office as PM, these shares were seemingly transferred to a blind trust.
The report emphasized that shareholdings, even if they fall below the threshold, may still be subject to the House of Commons rules, which require lawmakers to publicly disclose any interests that could reasonably be seen as influencing their actions in parliament. This includes interests held by their immediate family members.
Moreover, the report shed light on ministers who had met with lobbyists representing various companies without declaring their own or their family members’ shareholdings. The new reports have put the lawmakers under scrutiny.
A Plea for the Reassessment of Parliamentary Regulations
In light of recent revelations, advocates for transparency are urging a thorough examination of parliamentary rules. In an interview with The Guardian, Steve Goodrich, representing Transparency International UK, emphasized the inherent conflict of interest when Members of Parliament possess shares in companies impacted by legislation under consideration.
This conflict often leads to a delicate balance between safeguarding personal financial interests and promoting the greater good. Goodrich stressed the importance of disclosing such information as a crucial measure to prevent the misuse of public office.
He further asserted that the public has an undeniable right to be informed about the influence of money in politics. By reevaluating parliamentary regulations, we can ensure a more accountable and transparent political system, where the interests of the public are prioritized over personal financial gain. The revelation calls for a reassessment of the parliamentary rules and regulations.