Disgraced Tory suspended from Commons

Disgraced MP Derek Conway was today suspended from the Commons for 10 days and ordered to repay up to £13,161 improperly paid to his son Freddie.

MPs endorsed the recommendations of the Standards and Privileges Committee without a vote, after a 35 minute debate.

Mr Conway was not in the chamber to hear discussion of his case.

Labour MP Frank Field questioned whether his punishment was adequate.

He told MPs: "If this example of what I would see as embezzlement had occurred in the refreshment department on this scale, we would have expected that person to leave the employment of this establishment on that day.

"I believe we should treat ourselves in a similar manner."

The suspension of the Old Bexley and Sidcup MP came as Downing Street backed calls for greater transparency in the way MPs claim expenses and allowances.

Repeated attempts in the past to force disclosure of the names of MPs' staff have been blocked.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown backed calls from Justice Secretary Jack Straw that there should be more openness with the public about where the allowances are spent.

But he stopped short of backing specific proposals to name all MPs' staff.

Mr Brown's spokesman said today: "The Prime Minister agrees with Jack Straw that there should be greater transparency over MPs' expenses.

"Exactly how this should be achieved is, of course, a matter for the House authorities to consider."

During a visit to Wandsworth Prison today Mr Straw said: "I've never understood for the life of me why MPs are not required to say who they employ."

He said many MPs employed spouses or children who worked "very hard" for them.

But he added: "What's important is the public should know about this.

"After all, we are spending public money on providing a public service. Of course people should know."

His comments come after Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, called yesterday for more transparency in MPs' use of allowances.

The Justice Secretary added that it was "infuriating" for the vast majority of MPs when their reputations were tarnished by a small minority.

In the next few weeks MPs may consider proposals for the National Audit Office to make spot checks on a random sample of MPs' expense and allowances claims.

Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes said today he would back that proposal.

Mr Conway, who has had the Tory whip withdrawn from him and has announced he is to step down at the next election, today hit back at media coverage of his affairs, including photos of his sons Freddie and Henry partying.

He has been accused of paying both sons public money for doing little or no work and was under renewed fire after it emerged that one of his son's friends Michel Pratte had also been on his payroll.

Leaving his central London mansion flat, the MP, who also faces a possible police probe into the payments to his sons, pointed out that Mr Pratte was not a relative.

He also defended his sons, who were pictured in one newspaper today partying.

He said: "Young people will be young people".

He added: "They have a right to a social life."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine