Labour has said it will refer Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Parliament’s standards watchdog for investigation over “mistakes” he made in registering his financial interests.
Mr Hunt apologised after it was revealed he failed to tell Companies House about his 50 per cent interest in a firm that bought luxury flats on England’s south coast.
Failing to disclose interests to the agency is punishable by a fine or up to two years in prison. Mr Hunt only registered his interest in Mare Pond Properties Limited after six months, The Daily Telegraph reported.
He also did not inform the parliamentary register of members’ interests of his share in the business within the 28-day time limit, according to the publication.
It is claimed Mr Hunt set up the company with his wife Lucia Guo to buy seven properties in the Ocean Village development in Southampton on 7 February.
Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s shadow secretary for the cabinet office, said in a statement: “It appears Jeremy Hunt has taken part in illegal activity in his failure to declare his involvement in a luxury flat investment.
“This is simply unacceptable and especially so given the secretary of state’s position at the heart of Theresa May’s government.
“Labour will today refer Jeremy Hunt to the standards commissioner to look into this serious breach. He should have had the decency to refer himself rather than sweep this under the carpet.”
The Health Secretary said his failure to declare a business interest with both Companies House and the parliamentary register of MPs interests was down to “honest administrative mistakes” and that he did not gain financially as a result.
A spokeswoman for Mr Hunt said: “These were honest administrative mistakes which have already been rectified.
“Jeremy’s accountant made an error in the Companies House filing which was a genuine oversight.
“With respect to ministerial and parliamentary declarations, the Cabinet Office are clear that there has been no breach of the ministerial code.
“Jeremy declared the interest to them after the company was set up.
“They advised that as it was a shell company with no assets or value, it should only be registered when it became operational.
“As such, Jeremy presumed the same rules applied to Parliamentary declarations.
“Although there was no personal gain involved, Jeremy accepts these mistakes are his responsibility and has apologised to the parliamentary authorities.”
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A Downing Street spokesman said: “Jeremy has rightly apologised for an administrative oversight, and as the Cabinet Office have made clear there has been no breach of the ministerial code.
“We consider the matter closed.”
The revelation comes while Mr Hunt is in Tokyo, Japan, to attend a conference on patient safety.