Wood savaged by Pecuniary Interests Registrar

The Registrar of Pecuniary Interests has published his report into Michael Wood's inaccurate disclosures, and the findings are quite savage, with a recommendation he be referred to the Privileges Committee. The report finds:

  • Even after the scandal broke, he took 27 days to correct his pecuniary interest declarations
  • Wood claims he simply forgot both the AIAL shares and Contact shares in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 returns.
  • It seems he also owned a second lot of AIAL shares through the J M Fairey Trust
  • Wood never sought any advice when completing his initial return or any subsequent return, unlike most
  • Wood confessed he had never even read Appendix B of Standing Orders which sets the rules for the register (note he is a former chief whip and deputy of the house)
  • Wood also admitted he had never read the explanatory notes, which give examples and guidance
  • Wood claims that despite the 16 interactions with the Cabinet Office over his shareholding in AIAL, it never occurred to him to update the previous returns with the Registrar
  • Wood claims he never noticed the dividend payments from AIAL and Contact as they just went straight into his bank account
  • Wood claimed that while he was a Trustee of the J M Fairey Trust, he was not engaged with it, and left things to his lawyer
  • The Registrar notes Wood appears not to be aware of the duties of Trustees under the Trusts Act 2019, and trustees can't delegate their powers
  • Wood lied to the when on 8 June he said he had corrected his declarations – he did not do so for several further weeks
  • The shares held in a trust should also have been disclosed

No surprise he has been referred to the Privileges Committee for contempt, as he clearly was contemptuous of thinking the rules applied to him.

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