26/02/2009

PM Apologises For 'Inadvertent' Expenses Breach

Gordon Brown has had his knuckles rapped by the government's sleaze watchdog for breaching expenses guidelines.

But the parliamentary authority stopped short of saying the Prime Minister had committed deliberate deception.

John Lyon, of the expenses watchdog, investigated claims Mr Brown had failed to declare £1,600 he gained by sub-letting space in his Scottish constituency office to fellow party members.

The watchdog's report cleared the PM of any accusations relating to the declaration of money but ruled he had breached guidelines introduced in 2004, which state MPs cannot sub-let accommodation paid for from parliamentary allowances.

Despite this, the watchdog found Mr Brown nor any colleagues had benefited from the breach, which had been done inadvertently.

"Mr Brown has apologised and in our view no further action is necessary," said the report.

The original complaint, Conservative MP Greg Hands, said he accepted Brown's apology.

"It does not appear that the Prime Minister has personally profited from the breach, and he did quickly rectify the situation when it was brought to his attention by my complaint and by the media," he said.

(PR/JM)

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