|Dissolution of Parliament|
Sadiq Khan MP has voluntarily reimbursed the House of Commons to cover the cost of a mailing he sent to a small number of Tooting constituents in April, when the General election was called and Parliament was ‘Dissolved’.
A number of MPs chose to write to their constituents ahead of the General Election, informing them that once Parliament was ‘Dissolved’ (i.e. suspended to allow for the election to be held) there were no longer any Members of Parliament and so they could not continue to assist with their case until after the election.
The House of Commons authorities permit MPs to write to their constituents to inform them of post-Dissolution arrangements.
One complaint was received about the letter – from a Conservative MP.
Sadiq Khan MP said: "I wrote to relevant constituents to advise them that I would be unable to help them while Parliament was dissolved, as I wouldn't be an MP at this time. The House of Commons authorities have agreed that this letter was not party-political and it did not support my re-election."
"The Parliamentary Commissioner reached a slightly different interpretation of the rules, which I respect. I welcome his conclusion that there is a wider issue here which my letters to constituents were an honest and apolitical attempt to address: it is not generally understood that following Dissolution in many cases urgent work MPs do has to be put on hold, no matter how this impacts the public we were elected to serve."
In his official response to the complainant the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards said:
“Given his understandable wish to inform his constituents about the handling of constituency cases during the election period, and that he did not intend to breach the rules of the House in sending out his letter, and given the scale and costs involved, I consider that the matter can be resolved on the basis of Mr Khan’s response. I therefore regard the matter as closed”
Sadiq was not asked to repay the cost of the mailing but chose to, as he felt that it was important to remove any misunderstanding or doubt that could have been associated with this well-intended correspondence. The cost of the mailing was £173.36, which Sadiq voluntarily paid.
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