The Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions appeared on Friday’s instalment of Good Morning Britain to defend Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer who has come under fire for breaching the MPs’ code of conduct. ITV presenter Charlotte Hawkins told the minister it must be “disappointing” that a “principled person” has breached parliamentary rules.
Hawkins, who was grilling the minister with co-host Ben Shephard, began: “Starmer has been found to have breached the MPs’ code of conduct eight times, which is a big number of times to have breached it.
“And he has presented himself as whiter than white, as this principled person, so it must be disappointing.”
Ashworth replied to tell Good Morning Britain viewers the Labour Party leader has apologised for breaching the code.
“It’s for late registrations of issues, is not for pretending he didn’t get football tickets or something like that,” the minister stressed.
READ MORE: John Barnes slams calls to scrap taking the knee
“It’s not for lying for trying to hide the truth, it’s for being a little bit late with the registration.
“It’s because you are supposed to register things within a month and he didn’t get everything registered within a month.
“The authority who looked into this accepts it was inadvertent, it shouldn’t have happened but they accept his apology and they are not going to take it any further.
“But it’s a reminder for all those MPs to make sure that if we are ever fortunate enough to get a gift we register it on time.”
He has presented himself as whiter than white, as this principled person.
The procedure involves writing an apology and publishing details on the House of Commons website.
Starmer wrote a letter to the commissioner in June saying the late declarations were a result of an administrative error within his office.
He added he took full responsibility for his register and apologised.
The debate on Good Morning Britain divided viewers, with Kristina Beth tweeting: “Seems it’s okay and a different rule for Starmer again… It was inadvertent. I’m just baffled why he was late declaring these things… What was he busy doing?” (sic)
John Doe penned: “Perhaps it was inadvertent, but Starmer should be a lot more careful about his conduct as should all politicians. They should be squeaky clean, especially after Boris.”
Vicki Kelly added: “I don’t know why any form of media asks these politicians about anything. They would probably skirt around the truth if you asked them their age, let alone important issues for the British people.”
Hetty said: “He didn’t lie about the gifts, the problem was he was later registering. There is a difference.”
Good Morning Britain continues on weekdays at 6am on ITV.