CHORLEY MP Lindsay Hoyle has hit back at allegations he breached rules on registering trips paid for by overseas governments.

In the last five years, Mr Hoyle has visited Gibraltar three times and also travelled to the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

A investigation by the BBC named him as one of 20 MPs who had breached Parliamentary rules on similar overseas trips.

But Mr Hoyle said he had not knowingly broken any rules, and asked for clarification from the Commissioner for Standards for the future.

Under Commons rules, MPs must register a foreign trip and then declare relevant visits when tabling questions, motions or debates.

Within a year of registering the Gibraltar trips, Mr Hoyle tabled 29 questions relating to Gibraltar and was the primary sponsor of five early day motions relating to the island, without declaring an interest.

Mr Hoyle visited the Cayman Islands in July 2008, later asking three questions in the Commons relating to the territory without declaring an interest.

He also asked two questions after visiting the British Virgin Islands in May 2006 on a trip paid for by the islands' government.

All the trips were declared in the Register of Members' Interests. However, several were not within the four-week period after the visit stipulated in the MPs’ Code of Conduct.

Mr Hoyle said he understood that he did not have to make a declaration before asking the questions as the places he visited were British, not foreign.

He said he had written to the Commissioner for Standards seeking clarification for the future and would fully accept and abide by any guidance provided.

Mr Hoyle said: "All my visits to British overseas territories have been declared in the Register of Members' Interests.

“All these places are British. The governments of overseas territories cannot be considered foreign.

“I have never received, or sought, any financial benefit as a result of my activities in relation to the overseas territories."

Mr Hoyle said that the overseas visits were part of his role as chair of both the Parliamentary Gibraltar group and British Virgin Islands group.

He said the Cayman Islands trip was a result of an invitation by their government to ‘advise them on constitutional changes’.