MP told to apologise for insurance claim

A former Government minister was told today to apologise to Parliament for claiming expenses to cover the cost of insuring his wife's £8,000 engagement ring.

Shahid Malik claimed a total of £235 on his MP's second home allowance to pay for optional extra insurance in 2008/09 and 2009/10, House of Commons Standards Commissioner John Lyon found.

The former communities minister, who lost his Dewsbury seat in the May General Election, voluntarily repaid the money in full after a complaint was lodged in December last year.

The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee today welcomed his decision to repay the money and acknowledged that the case did not involve a "serious breach".

But the committee said that "in our view it might expected that such an item of jewellery would be covered by the policy in respect of the Member's main home".

The committee recommended that the former Labour MP write a letter of apology to the House.