The UK’s parliamentary expenses scandal has forced a member of the government to step down, the highest profile casualty of the affair so far.
Shahid Malik has relinquished his position as junior justice minister pending an inquiry into allegations over his expenses. The Labour MP for Dewsbury admits claiming for a new television but denies falsely claiming housing costs. “This isn’t a swimming pool,” he said. “It’s not a tennis court, it’s not a moat, it’s not a heli-pad. Those are claims made by Tory grandees. My constituents wouldn’t understand that. Would they understand a television where a claim was received for one thousand and fifty pounds (1,179 euros)? Some of them might not be happy with it but I think they would understand it.” The furore erupted over claims in a national newspaper that Shahid Malik was paying rent at a huge discount while claiming the equivalent of 75,000 euros in expenses on a second home. Malik denies breaching a ministerial code on expense claims. A spokesman for Prime Minister Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office has stressed that the expectation is that Mr Malik will return to office if and when he is cleared.