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Mark Spencer, the new leader of the House of Commons, found himself having to defend the delay in publishing the list of gifts received by ministers, insisting it could be “complicate­d”. “If I went on a foreign trip and someone gave me a gift of… a huge golden sword and they presented it to me, it would take a while for the civil service to establish the value of that item and I would not be able to log that item,” he told the Standards Committee. Chair Chris Bryant was less than impressed by that response, telling Spencer to “come off it”. “How can I log its value if I don’t know its value?” replied the former chief whip. It’s a tough question to answer…

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