Livingstone dismisses inquiry call

Ken Livingstone dismissed calls for a fresh inquiry into his financial affairs yesterday after a Labour MP claimed that he had failed to declare £15,000 in earnings.

In an official complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Brian Sedgemore said that Mr Livingstone had been "less than open" about money gained from after-dinner speeches.

Mr Sedgemore, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, called on Elizabeth Filkin to conduct a new investigation to establish the extent of Mr Livingstone's undeclared employment. The former GLC leader, who was forced to apologise to the Commons for failing to declare £158,000 in earnings, admitted last week he was owed a further £15,000 for speeches.

But Mr Livingstone made clear that because he had not received the money, he had seen no need to inform Ms Filkin's office. He turned up for 12 engagements for which he was not paid and is chasing another six unpaid bills, he said. The Brent East MP's case appeared to be backed by Ms Filkin herself yesterday when she told The Independent that an MP only has to register one-off payments four weeks after they actually receive the money.

Nevertheless, the Parliamentary Commissioner will have to launch a preliminary inquiry into Mr Sedgemore's complaint if only to verify the one-off nature of Mr Livingstone's earnings.

Comments