Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron ‘stands aside’ from ethics post over drugs firm events allegations

Kevin Barron
Kevin Barron

MP Sir Kevin Barron is standing aside from his post on a Parliament ethics committee over allegations he agreed to host events for a drugs firm.

The Rother Valley MP, who has represented the constituency since 1983, has stepped down as chairman of the Common Standards Committee.

He has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over allegations he arranged events in Parliament for a pharmaceutical company.

Sir Kevin said fees he received as an advisor to the Japanese Pharmaceutical Group were paid to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston.

He said: “My own understanding is, due to the fact I made no personal gain and all the fees were paid to a charity, I had not breached the rules on usage of parliamentary facilities for personal or business use.

“It is a matter of record that I followed the rules in registering this interest and deposited an agreement for the provision of services, as the rules required.

“In light of the allegations I may have breached House of Commons code of conduct or rules, I refer myself to you for you to consider whether any breaches of the rules or the code of conduct have taken place.”

A spokeswoman for the cross-party Standards Committee said Sir Kevin was standing aside from its work “until the matter is resolved”.

In June 2011, Sir Kevin reportedly arranged a breakfast meeting for five people in the House of Commons’ dining room for the Japanese Pharmaceutical Group.

He arranged a dinner for 10 people in the same place later that year and another dinner for 12 people in July 2013.

House of Commons rules governing hiring rooms for functions and events say that “no part of the venue may be used for direct or indirect financial or material gain”.

The Commons code of conduct says that “members shall ensure 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”.

Sir Kevin declared his work for the JPS in the Commons Register of Members’ Interests, and said the firm had made three payments to a charity in his constituency, totalling £9,000.