Commons fails to sanction Willetts

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The Independent Online
David Willetts, the Paymaster General, escaped sanction last night after a Commons disciplinary hearing broke up amid argument about his punishment.

The dispute broke out across party lines as MPs ended 15 hours of deliberations on whether Mr Willetts should be sanctioned for intervening in an earlier disciplinary inquiry into allegations against former trade minister, Neil Hamilton.

Tony Newton, the leader of the Commons and chairman of the hearing, tried to prevent the committee taking the unusual step of publishing majority and minority reports after Tory members of the committee insisted he should receive only a mild rebuke.

Labour members of the committee insist he should be severely punished. Mr Willetts has said he would resign if the committee recommended such punishment.