MP Bill Wiggin apologises to Commons over expenses

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Bill Wiggin, North Herefordshire MP
Image caption,
Bill Wiggin will not be sacked from the government over the claims

An MP has apologised to the House of Commons for a serious breach of the Parliamentary expenses rules.

Bill Wiggin, Conservative MP for North Herefordshire, wrongly claimed for utility expenses not incurred, a report said.

The Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee ordered him to repay £4,009.

Mr Wiggin, a government whip, who lives in Ledbury, said he had since paid back the money.

The committee said that it accepted "chaotic" arrangements were to blame for him also claiming second-home expenses.

He had mistakenly claimed £11,000 for mortgage payments on his Ledbury home instead of his London home.

The committee said the public purse lost nothing from the mortgage payments mix-up.

Its report recommended he repay £4,009 for electricity bills, telephone calls and maintenance costs which he claimed for on a second home between 2004 and 2006.

Mr Wiggin said: "As requested by the committee I have apologised for my mistakes, which were purely accidental, and paid back the money they say I overclaimed six years ago.

"The committee clarified that although I did not break the rules, as they were then, they have on the balance of probability estimated that I overclaimed.

"I have immediately complied with the committee's request."

Mr Wiggin will not lose his job in government, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said.

"The prime minister's position is that he is staying in his job," he told reporters.

He explained that the committee's findings that the second home mix-up was "unintended" meant there was no contradiction with Mr Cameron's pledge last year that MPs would be "out of the door" if guilty of expenses offences.

Correction 26 October 2010. Previous versions of this story wrongly stated that the Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee had said the public purse lost nothing as a result of Mr Wiggins' claim for £4,009. The committee were in fact referring to Mr Wiggins' claim for mortgage payments on his Ledbury home instead of his London home.

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