Portillo risks new storm over agency fees

Defence Secretary Michael Portillo has broken Parliamentary rules for a second time by failing to register an estimated 2,000 payment from a second advertising agency.

It follows the revelation that a payment of between 3,000 and 5,000 was made to his constituency party, or another Conservative organisation, for attending a meeting at McCann-Erickson in November 1995 (MW February 14).

It has now emerged that Portillo attended an earlier meeting at Bates Dorland on June 12 1995, which was attended by senior agency staff including, Bates Worldwide chief executive Michael Bungey, the then managing director John Stubbings and clients.

The estimated 2,000 fee, described by an agency source as the only time it has paid an MP for attending one of its regular briefing meetings, was paid to either

Portillo’s constituency party or another Conservative association. That, too, has not been included in the register.

The acting registrar cannot investigate the incidents until he receives a complaint about them.

Portillo’s office refuses to discuss the issue. It says in a prepared statement: “Michael Portillo believes he has declared everything which is properly declarable.”

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