Commons watchdog to censure minister

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Indy Politics

John Reid, the Scottish Secretary of State, is facing censure by the Commons standards watchdog over claims that his son was paid out of public funds while campaigning for Labour.

John Reid, the Scottish Secretary of State, is facing censure by the Commons standards watchdog over claims that his son was paid out of public funds while campaigning for Labour.

A report into the allegations by the Standards and Privileges Committee, due out this month, is bound to prove embarrassing to the Government. Mr Reid is a close ally of Tony Blair and has been drafted recently to help to defuse crises such as the fuel protests.

Mr Reid was questioned in private by the committee last week over the role of his son Kevin in last year's Scottish Parliament elections. Another Scottish Labour MP, John Maxton, was also asked to answer similar allegations.

Kevin Reid was at the centre of a Scottish Parliament lobbying inquiry last year. It was claimed he boasted about links with senior ministers while working as a political consultant.Now the Westminster standards committee is expected to criticise the use of MPs' researchers for political campaigning work.

The committee's report, expected to be published at the end of the month, is believed to be detailed and critical. It follows a 10-month inquiry by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Elizabeth Filkin.

A Labour backbencher has made similar allegations about the Tories, claiming the party has used its parliamentary allowances to fund party political activities.

Fraser Kemp, Labour MP for Houghton and Washington East, has complained to the Public Accounts Committee that the Conservatives may have used part of their £3m "Short Money" allocation to employ extra spin-doctors.

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