Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps admits taking donations from estate agent and four other firms connected with property industry
Tory shadow housing minister Grant Shapps has been using money from an estate agent and property firms to run his private parliamentary office, the MP has admitted.
In a letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner, Shapps said he had taken donations of more than £1,000 from five firms connected with the property industry to run his private office, despite the nature of his role.
Shapps has led the Conservative campaign against the introduction of Home Information Packs. Hips are also violently opposed by the Estate Agency industry.
The donations were from two online mortgage brokers, Charcol and Edeus Creators; Douglas & Gordon, a west London estate agent; the Sapcote Group, a commercial property developer; and Goldsmith Williams, a firm of solicitors that specialises in conveyancing and remortgaging.
The money came to Shapps via Conservative central office, with donors expressing a desire the money should be used to fund Shapps’ office.
Three other Conservative shadow minister have admitted to similar actions in taking money from businesses connected to the portfolio they represent.
In a letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner, John Lyon, Grant Shapps MP said the donations helped “provide staff who support me in carrying out my Frontbench responsibilities.”
He added: “I have always endeavoured to comply with the rules governing the registration of Members' Interests as I have understood them. But should you decide that further declarations are necessary, I would of course fully comply with your guidance.
A spokesman for the Conservative Party told the Guardian newspaper its opposition to Hips predated financial donations from estate agents. "Some of the Conservative policy on housing is actually against the policy of the donors," a party spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Commissioner said the MPs had not broken current rules outright, but it was likely procedures would be changed to ensure donations directed through central office for particular person would have to be registered in MPs’ private register of interests.