Shamed ex-MP Denis MacShane says sorry to Rotherham constituency

 

Shamed ex-MP Denis MacShane has said sorry to his former constituents in Rotherham, saying: “I have let this wonderful town, its terrific people and my constituency down so very badly.”

Mr MacShane stepped down as the Labour MP for the South Yorkshire town a week ago after the cross-party Commons Standards and Privileges Committee concluded the ex-Labour MP deliberately filed misleading receipts.

Today, the former minister apologised to the people of Rotherham in a letter to the Yorkshire Post.

"How do I say sorry?," he said.

"Rotherham has been such an important part of my life and I have let this wonderful town, its terrific people and my constituency down so very badly.

"I accept fully the responsibility for my actions."

Mr MacShane added: "That I was at grievous fault there can be no doubt."

But the former MP again stressed no new information had been presented since details of his expenses were published in 2009.

He said: "I did not flip my London home and make a huge personal profit.

"I did not pay a partner or a child £40,000.

"My house has not changed or been improved using taxpayers' money.

"I did not claim thousands under the so called petty cash heading without receipts."

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".

The case was referred to Scotland Yard in October 2010, but police took no action.

Yesterday, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed its lawyers and police had met this week to consider reopening the criminal investigation.

In his letter today, Mr MacShane said: "I finish by apologising from the bottom of my heart for the damage I have done, I hope only temporarily, to the good name of Rotherham, through my folly and mistakes."

And he also talked about the death of his daughter Clare in a sky-diving accident in 2004.

He said: "When my daughter was killed 10 years later in a sky-diving accident, Rotherham was there even if that grief made me lose judgment on filling in expense forms at the end of an 18-hour day."

PA

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