Wearside MPs happy to reveal financial affairs amid Panama Papers row

Wearside MPs says they are happy to reveal their financial affairs to restore public faith in the system.

Monday, 11th April 2016, 6:13 pm
Updated Monday, 11th April 2016, 6:17 pm
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said there should be “the greatest sense of openness” over money and influence after the Panama Papers row.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said she had no problem with full disclosure: “I am happy to publish whatever I am required to.

“Both my salary and Register of Members’ Interests are a matter of public record, and I receive no income other than my salary as an MP.”

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Easington MP Grahame Morris told the Echo: “I don’t have any property other than the house I live in Dawdon, I don’t have any other form of income and I don’t have any offshore trusts.

“I would not have any problem with publishing my tax return if it would help to restore public confidence.”

Houghton and Sunderland South’s Bridget Phillipson said: “I have always fully complied with the rules set down in the Parliamentary Code of Conduct.

“Both my salary and the Register of Members’ Interests are a matter of public record. I am, of course, happy to publish whatever is required.”

Her Washington and Sunderland West colleague Sharon Hodgson added: “I have always fully complied with what is required of Members of Parliament for full public disclosure, and, therefore, I am happy to publish whatever is required of me.”

Jeremy Corbyn called for “the greatest sense of openness” in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations when he appeared on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.

The Labour leader said people in the public eye should be expected to reveal their financial affairs.

Mr Corbyn has promised to publish his own tax return after Prime Minister David Cameron gave an unprecedented insight into his own finances. He told Andrew Marr journalists could be expected to publish their accounts.

Asked if the UK was now moving to a position where anyone in public life should reveal their tax affairs, Mr Corbyn said: “I think we are moving in that direction.

“I think it is probably a good thing if we move generally in that direction so that everybody knows what influences are at play.

“Money and politics have to be treated with the greatest sense of openness possible, so you know what influences are at work on any individual, on whatever political or any other decisions they make.”

Asked whether that would involve people whose work involved them in around politics as well as those actually in office, Mr Corbyn said: “I think we need to consider how far it goes, how far it goes to other people involved in public life.

“You are involved in public life, for example, as a very important commentator on the BBC, as indeed many others are.

“I think we need to know what influence is at work on them.”

The revelations about offshore tax havens had shown the country was divided.

Mr Corbyn added: “What Panama has shown, more than anything, is that there is one rule for the rich and one rule for the rest.”