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Personal Statement

Volume 504: debated on Friday 29 January 2010

I am here to apologise to the House. I do so without proviso. In my statement to the members of the Standards and Privileges Committee, I said that I would concur with whatever decision was made by them, and I stand by my word. There was no intention of wrongdoing on my part, and I am sorry for my assumption that I was eligible to claim as I did, which was wrong.

I have two further apologies, the first of which is to my constituents. The good people of Leyton and Wanstead do not deserve to have their faith in their parliamentary representative so severely shaken. They deserve the best, untarnished representation. Also, the best of my efforts over the past 27 years has been in taking up their cases, including cases of injustice to them. In the past intensive nine months of the inquiry into me, I have had to give a lot of time to my own case, when I would have much preferred to be dealing with theirs. I am sorry for any shortfall as a result.

Secondly, I publicly apologise to my wife Ellen, who is taking a lot of the flak. This situation is not her fault and she has suffered as a consequence. I am deeply sorry about that.

Finally, I have the greatest respect for Parliament and would not intentionally have wanted to do anything to tarnish its reputation. I am sorry if I have done so.