Former Labour MP Denis MacShane right to resign, says Ed Miliband

 

Former Labour minister Denis MacShane was “right” to step down from Parliament after being condemned for abusing expenses rules, the party's leader Ed Miliband said today.

Mr Miliband's comments came shortly before Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley was expected to announce a parliamentary debate on the damning official report into Mr MacShane's case.

The Rotherham MP announced on Friday that he was resigning from Parliament after the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee recommended a year's suspension from the House for claiming thousands of pounds using fake receipts.

Asked today whether Mr MacShane had let Labour down, Mr Miliband said: "Yes. I think he did the wrong thing, and I think it was really disturbing to see the evidence of what's happened in terms of Denis.

"But I think he's accepted that, and it's right that he's accepted that. It is right that he has stood down from Parliament because he has recognised the scale of what has happened. It was the right thing for him to do.

"It means there will be a new representative in his constituency who will take the work forward."

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon found Mr MacShane had entered 19 "misleading" expenses claims for thousands of pounds of research and translation services from a body called the European Policy Institute (EPI), signed by its supposed general manager.

However, the institute did not exist "in this form" by the time in question and the general manager's signature was provided by Mr MacShane himself or someone else "under his authority".

As the MP controlled the EPI's bank account, he was effectively "submitting invoices to himself and asking the parliamentary authorities to pay".

In his resignation statement he said: "I am glad the committee notes that there is no question of personal gain.

Clearly I deeply regret that the way I chose to be reimbursed for costs related to my work in Europe”.

The case was referred to Scotland Yard in October 2010, but police were not handed any of Mr MacShane's evidence or the other information amassed by the commissioner.

They dropped the case this July after receiving advice from the Crown Prosecution Service on an initial evidence file.

Chancellor George Osborne today appointed Mr MacShane to the post of Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern - the technical procedure enabling MPs to resign their seat in the Commons.

PA

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