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Personal Statement

Volume 471: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal statement to the House. The Committee on Standards and Privileges has today issued its report on the complaint made against me for employing my son as a researcher and parliamentary assistant.

I will not delay the business of the House by going through the contents of that report, as it is publicly available. The Committee was entitled to reach the conclusions that it did and I have accepted its criticisms in full. I unreservedly apologise to the House for my administrative shortcomings and the misjudgments I made. In my submissions to the Committee and the commissioner, I set out my case and I leave it to hon. Members to form their own judgment of my conduct. I should like to make it clear that throughout the investigation the commissioner acted with absolute courtesy and the Committee afforded me every opportunity to explain my position.

In apologising to the House, I would also like to apologise to my constituents and to the Old Bexley and Sidcup Conservative association, which has been so very supportive to me and my family throughout a very difficult period. The House will comprehend the impact that this matter has on me personally and also on my family. I have let them down very badly indeed, and no judgment from any quarter could be more harsh than that which I apply to myself.