Lee Anderson, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, broke parliamentary rules by filming a promotional clip for his GB News show from the roof of the House of Commons.
The senior Tory apologized and promised not to do it again after admitting breaking MPs’ code of conduct by being filmed on the roof terrace and sending an email announcing his agenda from his email address parliamentary email.
Using Parliament Square and Whitehall as a backdrop, the Ashfield MP had asked viewers to air their issues for a chance to appear on his weekly show.
He is paid £100,000 a year by GB News for eight hours of work a week. On his first show in June, he described Brexit as a “big decision”, interviewed guests including former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and spoon-fed baked beans to his fellow Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith during a taste test of different brands.
Daniel Greenberg, the standards commissioner, said Anderson had broken the rules on both counts and would accept an apology and a commitment not to repeat the behavior.
In a report published on his website, Greenberg said: “I consider that by making an unauthorized commercial video for your television program 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 adverts for your television program for GB News, you have breached… the code.
Anderson immediately apologized for breaking the rules relating to filming at Parliament House, but initially tried to claim he had not used his parliamentary email address. He then accepted the commissioner’s findings in full and paid the House of Commons authorities for using the estate for filming purposes.
The MPs’ Code of Conduct states: “With the exception of modest and reasonable personal use, MPs 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 complies with all relevant rules.
At the time, a House of Commons spokesperson said of the promotional video: “Unauthorized photography or filming is not permitted on parliamentary grounds. When this is observed or reported, the person in question will be asked to stop and remember the rules. When violations are observed or reported, the Sergeant at Arms will speak with (or write to) the member concerned to confirm the rules.