Rules were broken over free rail tickets for lover

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Indy Politics

David Blunkett broke parliamentary rules by giving Kimberly Quinn two first-class rail tickets intended for use by MPs' spouses, the Commons standards watchdog found yesterday.

Members of the all-party Standards and Privileges Committee said the former home secretary was responsible for checking the rules governing travel passes and upheld a complaint against him. But they did not recommend action against Mr Blunkett after he repaid the £179 cost of the tickets and made a "profuse apology" for his error.

The all-party committee issued its finding after Sir Philip Mawer, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, had found Mr Blunkett was in "clear breach of the House's rules".

Spouses are entitled to 15 return trips a year between London and their constituency or home, but unmarried partners do not qualify.

Mr Blunkett said in a letter to Sir Philip that he had assumed partners had the same travel rights as spouses. The then Home Secretary said: "I considered Ms Fortier, as she was then known, to be my partner, although she remained married to someone else, given that she was eight months pregnant with my child."