An investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards into City of Chester MP, Chris Matheson and Ellesmere Port & Neston MP Justin Madders has concluded that neither breached the rules. The complaint was found to be without merit and was not upheld.
An investigation was launched after allegations were made against the pair by former Council leader Cllr Mike Jones. They have criticised the complaint as being a “waste of public funds” following a “politically-motivated and petty” complaint. They have called on Cllr Jones to “concentrate on the issues that really matter to residents.”
The complaint centred around whether the MPs should have declared on their Register of Interests an offer by Cheshire West & Chester Council to provide a parking permit for use if they were visiting the Council on official business. The Commissioner for Standards found that the complaint was without merit as the “maximum possible value of the parking Permit was significantly below the registrable threshold.”
The Permits were provided by the Council to remove the requirement for parking to be authorised on every separate occasion that they attended meetings at Council offices.
The MPs were unable to comment while the investigation was active, despite numerous reports in the local media that a complaint had been made. Following publication of the decision, Justin Madders MP said:
“I am pleased that the investigation has now concluded that this complaint was totally without merit, as I expected from the start. The rules are very clear and are obviously not intended to require MPs to declare every time they are allowed to park when attending a meeting.
“I’m sure that Cllr Jones was well aware of this when he made the complaint. I am disappointed that a lot of time and public money has been wasted investigating what was a politically-motivated and petty complaint.”
Chris Matheson MP added:
“I am pleased that this politically-motivated complaint has been rejected and I imagine many residents will be aghast that something as trivial as a parking permit could be the subject of a formal complaint.
“At a time when the government has chopped £57 million from the council’s finances and when our schools face one of the biggest funding cuts in the country, this was an insulting waste of money. I won’t play petty party politics and I will now concentrate again on the issues of real importance to residents.”