Senior Labour MP forced to apologise after breaking Commons rules over Garden Bridge work

Posted On: 
7th December 2017

A senior Labour MP has been forced to apologise by sleaze watchdogs after using her Commons office for non-parliamentary work.

Dame Margaret Hodge said she was 'extremely sorry' over the breach - but called for clearer rules for MPs

The Committee on Standards found that Dame Margaret Hodge had broken the MPs’ code of conduct by using her Westminster office for work commissioned by the Greater London Assembly.

The former minister said she was “extremely sorry” for the breach, but also urged the parliamentary authorities to make the rules on MPs’ conduct clearer.

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The GLA paid the former minister £9,500 to carry out a value-for-money review of the controversial Garden Bridge project.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pulled the plug on the bridge in April, citing a shortfall in funding and a failure to secure land use agreements.

Dame Margaret held some 20 meetings in her Westminster office related to the review and also used Commons stationery and telephone services.

Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson said that Ms Hodge had not been motivated by financial gain, although she had received payment for the work.

In a statement this morning Ms Hodge said: "I am extremely sorry that I inadvertently breached parliamentary rules. I carried out this inquiry in good faith and in the public interest.

“I think all MPs would benefit from greater clarity in the rules governing the use of offices."