Brown rebuked over sub-let

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Gordon Brown was rebuked by parliamentary anti-sleaze watchdogs yesterday for sub-letting his constituency office to local Labour Party officials.

The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee said the Prime Minister broke Commons rules by letting out part of his taxpayer-funded Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency office.

Mr Brown and Marilyn Livingstone, an MSP who shared the office, sub-let part of it to the local Labour Party for £1,259 a year each. Sub-letting is forbidden under House of Commons rules but the committee of MPs said Mr Brown had reduced his expenses claims to account for the extra income.

The watchdog decided he should not face punishment because neither he nor the Labour Party benefited financially and there was "no intention to deceive". "Mr Brown has apologised and, in our view, no further action is necessary," the watchdog said.

Mr Brown, who was attending an event in Suffolk, said: "Where there is an inadvertent breach, you'll apologise for it and that is what I've done." He had sent copies of his lease to House of Commons officials in 2006 and 2007.