Matt Hancock faces probe into ‘lobbying’ Parliament’s sleaze watchdog

File photo dated 04/06/21 of Matt Hancock. Mr Hancock and former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have told a fake overseas company looking for MP advisers their daily rate for consultancy would be ¿10,000. In a sting operation set up by campaign group Led By Donkeys, Mr Hancock and Mr Kwarteng both set out six-figure sums for what they would expect to be paid to advise a non-existent firm in South Korea. Issue date: Saturday March 25, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS LedByDonkeys. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

MATT Hancock faces a fresh investigation for trying to influence Parliament’s sleaze watchdog.

The former health secretary and another two MPs are under investigation for breaking the MPs’ code of conduct.

Matt Hancock faces a probe from the standards watchdog over trying to influence an investigation

He is accused of “lobbying the commissioner in a manner calculated or intended to influence his consideration” over a possible breach of the code.

He faced a flurry of complaints after going on I’m a Celebrity last year, which saw him stripped of the Tory whip after he ditched Parliament during term time.

And he broke government rules by failing to consult another watchdog for business appointments before he went on it.

The latest rule-break is a new part of the code, which was brought in by MPs at the end of last year following the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal.

Last night sources close to Mr Hancock said it was a “misunderstanding” and he was “shocked and surprised” by the investigation.

A spokesperson said: “Far from lobbying the commissioner, Matt wrote to Mr Greenberg in good faith to offer some additional evidence that he thought was not only pertinent but helpful for an inquiry the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is currently conducting.”

Former Tory MP Scott Benton also faces a probe after he referred himself to the commissioner after a sting operation where he promised to leak government papers in return for a job.

He was stripped of the Tory whip but failed to actually continue with any of the sketchy business deal.

Blackpool South MP Mr Benton is facing a probe for use of his Parliamentary email address.

And Tory MP Henry Smith is being probed for his use of stationary, it was revealed today.

The commissioner was already carrying out an inquiry into Health and Social Care Committee chairman Steve Brine over claims he lobbied the head of the NHS on behalf of a firm for which he was working as a paid consultant.

The news comes after Mr Hancock was caught on camera asking for thousands of pounds in extra cash for side-gigs.

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were left red-faced after asking for up to £10,000 a day to take on extra work for a fake firm.

The MPs – who already earn £84,000 a year in the Commons – were in talks about raking in even more money for consultancy jobs on the side as part of a hit job by campaign group Led By Donkeys.

The pair did not break any rules but were accused of putting their constituents second above extra cash.

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