MP Jacob Rees-Mogg under fire for not declaring financial interests

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg

North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has been reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commission for allegedly not declaring his financial interests during speeches in the Commons.

Reports in the national press at the weekend highlighted debates in the House of Commons in which he had taken part on topics including the tobacco industry, oil and coal mining.

The reports also claimed that Mr Rees-Mogg’s investment company, Somerset Capital Management, has £23m invested in tobacco companies and £5.5m in energy and mining interests. The Commons’ code of conduct states that MPs must disclose financial interests, directly or indirectly, if they speak in associated debates in the House.

Reacting to the news, Todd Foreman, Labour Party candidate for North East Somerset at next year’s election, accused the MP of putting his business interests ahead of those of his constituents.

“Since becoming an MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg has earned more than £500,000 from a second job at Somerset Capital Management, a hedge-fund that he co-founded.  Despite its name, Somerset Capital Management has nothing to do with Somerset, but it is in fact a London-based hedge fund that invests in overseas companies, including substantial interests in tobacco, oil and coal mining companies.

“These apparent breaches of the rules regarding declarations of financial interests by Jacob Rees-Mogg are very serious, and residents in North East Somerset should be very concerned to learn how Jacob Rees-Mogg is using his position as an MP to promote his own business interests.”

The accusations made to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner by Edinburgh-based Labour MP Sheila Gilmour concern the 2012 Finance Bill where Mr Rees-Mogg spoke against increases in tobacco duty and earlier this year when he opposed moves to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

Last year he spoke against subsidies for green energy initiatives and also supported an extension of deep sea mining. He has also been an active supporter the development of shale gas extraction (known as fracking) in the UK.