Norfolk MP repays money over rules mix up

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: Archant

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has repaid almost £800 after a mix up involving letters sent out during last year’s general election.

Mr Freeman – who regained his seat with a majority of more than 16,000 – posted letters to constituents concerning issues of rat-running in 10 villages.

The letters were sent using House of Commons stationary as the election was called and the standards committee found this was a breach of the rules.

The MP said: “I understood the rules permitted correspondence using parliamentary stationary in the course of being a constituency MP on the basis that it did not in any way make party political points, which I have been studiously careful never to do so.

“I was not aware that the rules went further and prevented MPs from describing their previous work in case that it was viewed as presenting their work in a favourable light. In my mailing, I did refer to my previous work on such matters – as I believed it was wholly relevant to explaining why it was that I was contacting many of my residents for the first time on this issue.

“While I still maintain that the mailing was not intended to be anything other than an update to a small group of villages affected by a looming deadline on traffic mitigation measures, I of course respect, and accept, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards decision to find me in breach of the guidance and require me to repay the costs of the stationery which has now been repaid in full by me personally.”

George Freeman’s full explanation can be found here