Parliamentary standards authorities are investigating Caroline Lucas for alleged violation of the rules by offering a tour of the House of Commons in an election fundraiser after a complaint by a conservative MP.
Lucas, a green member of the Brighton Pavilion since 2015, has insisted that he has done nothing wrong, but said he cannot comment further since the investigations conducted by the parliamentary commissioner for standards are confidential.
The news of the investigation came after a former Ukip candidate filed a complaint for a pre-election fundraiser in which Lucas’s team raised nearly £ 18,500 offering prizes in exchange for donations, such as a cake prepared by the parliamentarian if you have given £ 100.
Another point was the possibility for a person to receive a 3-minute “personal guided tour of the House of Commons” if Lucas was re-elected, in exchange for a donation of £ 150.
According to the code of conduct and related house rules, a 150-page document delivered to all MPs, members “should not offer guided tours of the house or Elizabeth Tower or Big Ben in lotteries or auctions.”
Stuart Bower, previously a UKKIP council candidate in Brighton and Hove, told the Brighton Argus newspaper that he complained to the commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, of “unethical” behavior by Lucas, but that he had received a response. saying another complaint on the same issue was already under investigation.
It is understood that the initial complaint was made by a conservative MP, whose identity remains unknown. It is also understood that Stone asked Bower to keep the matter confidential, but that he opted to go to his local newspaper.
In a statement, Lucas, the first and only MEP of the Greens, said: “I am aware that a case has been brought against the Commissioner and an investigation is currently underway. I don’t think I have done anything wrong.
“I have been informed that the commissioner’s investigations are confidential, so it would not be appropriate for me to say anything else at the moment.”
It is not unusual for candidates from minor or independent parties to seek financial help to fight a general election campaign. In the last election, ex-conservative Dominic Grieve raised over £ 35,000 from members of the public.
Other incentives offered by Lucas in his fundraising included £ 250 for lunch with the Brighton MP, or £ 50 for a shirt signed with a slogan that supported a proportional representation.