Hammersmith based MP Says Sorry in House of Commons

McNulty will pay back over £13,000 of expenses

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Hammersmith based MP Tony McNulty has offered an unreserved apology to other MPs in the House of Commons and agreed to repay a total of £13,837 of expenses which he claimed on a house where his parents are living.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr McNulty said he accepted the ruling of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee which found he had effectively been "subsidising" his parents from public funds.

Mr McNulty, a former Labour Minister, lives with his wife in Hammersmith, but was claiming the second home allowance for a home in his constituency of Harrow East.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards John Lyon reported that Mr McNulty was entitled to claim on the house in his Harrow constituency, even though it was only nine miles from his main home.

However, he said the former employment and home office minister had overclaimed in relation to the time he spent there in connection with his parliamentary duties which meant Mr McNulty and his parents, who were living rent-free, had "obtained a benefit from parliamentary funds to which he was not entitled".

Mr McNulty said he had followed the guidance given by the Commons Fees Office but accepted Mr Lyon was entitled to take a different view of the rules and to impose it retrospectively.

He said: " I should have been much clearer about my arrangements and taken steps to ensure that I was not open to any charge of benefit and should have had much more concern for how these rules were perceived by the public, rather than just following them.

" I apologise for any part I have played in the diminution of the standing of this House in the eyes of the public. It is, however, time to move on. I apologise to the House once again without reservation."

October 29, 2009

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