Brown’s ‘Transparency’ Falls At First Hurdle

(Telegraph) – NOT TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER HIS PLEDGEto consult more and be more transparent,’ Gordon Brown promoted yet another MP tarnished by The Daily Telegraph‘s expenses allegations. This time it was the turn of Shahid Malik to be reappointed as a junior minister at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Mr Malik stepped down as Justice Minister from the Government last month amid suspicions that his rental arrangements over his designated main home may have breached the ministerial code of conduct; but Downing Street said he was reappointed because Sir Philip Mawer, Mr Brown’s adviser on ministerial behaviour, had investigated and found nothing wrong with Mr Malik’s arrangements.

The Prime Minister ordered Sir Philip’s inquiry after The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr Malik’s landlord had claimed he was benefiting from a secret cut-price rental deal on his Dewsbury constituency residence, which he has designated as his ‘main home’.

He claimed tens of thousands of pounds in parliamentary expenses to cover his designated second home in London, while allegedly renting his constituency home for less than £100 a week.

He claimed more than £66,000 in expenses — the maximum allowable amount — on his designated ‘second home’ in London since he became an MP in 2005.

The ministerial code of conduct states that members of the Government must not accept any ‘gift or hospitality’ which risks putting them under an ‘obligation.’ The arrangement had not been formally declared to officials at the Justice Ministry.

Asked when the report would be published, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: ‘It is not our intention to publish the report. It goes into quite a lot of detail about Mr Malik’s personal affairs.’

Asked whether Downing Street would publish a redacted version of the report, removing personal details, the spokesman said: ‘No.’

Sir Philip was not required to investigate Mr Malik’s expenses claims.

The No 10 spokesman said the Prime Minister ‘would support whatever Mr Malik believed was the right thing to do’ in relation to repaying the expenses money.

… (Telegraph, 10/06/2009) – Shahid Malik and the mysterious second office

… (Telegraph, 10/06/2009) – Shahid Malik returns to Government with questions unanswered

… (Telegraph, 10/06/2009) – Gordon Brown forced into revealing report on Shahid Malik finances

… (Telegraph, 10/06/2009) – MPs’ expenses: Shahid Malik admits charging taxpayer for two houses

… (Telegraph, 11/06/2009) – Shahid Malik faces new questions over his expenses

… (Telegraph, 11/06/2009) – MPs’ expenses: Shahid Malik unable to produce receipts or rental agreement

… (BBC, 11/06/2009) – Brown defends bringing Malik back

… (Telegraph, 11/06/2009) – Shahid Malik failed to tell whole truth on expenses

… (Telegraph, 12/06/2009) – Shahid Malik under renewed pressure as further questions are raised

… (Telegraph, 12/06/09) – MPs’ expenses: inside the Shahid Malik report

Sir Philip Mawer’s report

… (Daily Mail, 13/06/2009) – ‘He’s a crafty b******’, says elderly council tenant who lived in flat Shahid Malik snapped up for ‘next to nothing’

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