Malik quits as scandal claims first Government victim

The Westminster expenses scandal claimed its first Government victim today when Labour MP Shahid Malik stepped down as justice minister pending an investigation.



Gordon Brown ordered Sir Philip Mawer to examine whether Mr Malik, who denies any wrongdoing, had breached the ministerial code over a reported sub £100-a-week rent deal.

The potential implications of the revelations about MPs' taxpayer-funded allowances escalated tonight when police and prosecutors said they were to discuss potential criminal inquiries.

A panel of senior Scotland Yard officers and prosecutors will meet next week to decide what action to take in response to a surge of complaints that MPs had misused parliamentary expenses.

Dewsbury MP Mr Malik insisted he had done nothing wrong and said he looked forward to being cleared by Sir Philip and returning as a minister "with my head held high".

The alleged constituency home rent deal was reported by The Daily Telegraph alongside details of the MP's £66,827 claim over three years for his second home, a London townhouse.

He staunchly defended his expenses claims, which he said were entirely within the rules and for which he had "absolutely nothing to apologise for".

Last night he said the rent arrangement was "my private business".

However Downing Street announced this morning that Mr Brown decided to act after concluding the alleged deal needed investigating by Sir Philip, the independent adviser on ministerial interests.

"In the light of these accusations that have been made against Shahid Malik and the need for them to be properly investigated, the Prime Minister has asked the independent adviser, Sir Philip Mawer, to establish the facts of the matter as a matter of urgency and advise accordingly."

Mr Malik would be expected to return to the position if cleared, he said.

In a statement Mr Malik said: "I would like to make it clear that this inquiry has nothing whatsoever to do with my expense claims but relates to an allegation regarding my rent which, if true, would breach the ministerial code.

"I am confident that there has been no such breach and look forward to the findings of the inquiry so that I can continue to serve my constituents as their MP and the country as a minister with my head held high.

"Given that an inquiry is now under way, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The Telegraph said items covered in Mr Malik's expenses claim for his London home included £730 for a massage chair and £65 for a court summons for the non-payment of council tax.

He also tried to claim £2,600 for a home cinema system, although that was reduced to just over £1,000 by the Commons Fees Office.

He refused to return any of the money to the parliamentary authorities, but said he would donate the £1,050 he claimed for his television to worthy causes in his constituency.

The MP said his massage chair was "legitimate expenditure".

"I have absolutely nothing to apologise for. I have done nothing wrong. I have not been at the periphery of the rules. I haven't abused the rules, I have been absolutely at the core of the rules," Mr Malik said, before he stepped down.

Sir Philip is expected to report back to the premier on his probe into the alleged rent deal within days.

The panel of police and prosecutors was ordered by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer amid fast-mounting calls for a full inquiry.

Former police chief Ray Mallon, whose zero-tolerance approach earned him the nickname Robocop, was the latest to join the clamour this afternoon.

He believes there is enough evidence for MPs to be investigated for potential breach of the Theft Act or for other crimes, such as false accounting.

It is understood some senior officers are unwilling for the force to become embroiled in another complex political inquiry.

Campaign groups have threatened to launch private prosecutions if the police will not investigate.

Elliot Morley, the former minister who was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party yesterday while his own expense claims were probed by a sleaze watchdog, said today he might quit as the MP for Scunthorpe over the issue.

Mr Morley, who insists a £16,000 claim over 18 months for mortgage interest on a loan that had already been paid off was an oversight, told the Scunthorpe Telegraph: "I certainly have to consider my position.

"What matters to me is the view of my local people and my local party. I need to talk this through with them. I just feel shattered really by it all."

MPs of all parties are now braced for a weekend backlash from constituents after the stream of revelations about their expenses and allowances claims.

Windows were smashed yesterday at the constituency office of Tory Bromsgrove MP Julie Kirkbride after it was revealed she and her husband, fellow Tory MP Andrew MacKay who quit as David Cameron's Commons aide yesterday, both claimed the maximum second home expenses.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot