In February 2008 Hammersmith & Fulham MP Greg Hands (now a Shadow Treasury Minister) filed a complaint with Standards Commissioner John Lyon about Gordon Brown. Today the Prime Minister has been found by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee to have inadvertently broken the rules relating to the sub-letting of taxpayer funded constituency offices.
The Prime Minister and MSP Marilyn Livingstone rented part of their office to the Labour Party. The Committee says:
"We conclude that Mr Brown should not have sub-let part of his accommodation paid for from Parliamentary allowances. However, neither Mr Brown nor the Labour Party derived any financial benefit from this arrangement and there was no intention to deceive. We accept that Mr Brown’s breach of the rules of the House was inadvertent and that he took steps to rectify it as soon as it was drawn to his attention. Mr Brown has apologised and in our view no further action is necessary."
Mr Hands has commented too:
“I welcome the Committee’s report and accept Gordon Brown’s apology for breaking Commons rules on office sub-lets. 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.
It is ironic that the rules breached were those introduced after the resignation in shame of Henry McLeish as First Minister of Scotland, who was found to be subletting his Parliamentary office (‘a muddle not a fiddle’). Brown’s case is different in that there has been no suggestion of personal gain, but nevertheless the case is a reminder that the Prime Minister and all members of the Government that they are also Members of Parliament, and they need to obey important parliamentary rules like these."