Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 21:59 UK

Tory 'rations' MP Duncan demoted

Alan Duncan
Alan Duncan was secretly filmed by a campaigner

Alan Duncan, the senior Conservative secretly filmed complaining that MPs were expected to live on "rations", has been demoted from the shadow cabinet.

He goes from being shadow leader of the Commons to shadow prisons minister.

Mr Duncan, who was responsible for the Tories' position on MPs' expenses, said it was a "sensible decision" and he was "very happy" to do a new job.

The Rutland and Melton MP agreed to leave the shadow cabinet after a meeting with Tory leader David Cameron.

A replacement shadow leader of the Commons is to be announced on Tuesday, the same day as Mr Cameron is expected to announce proposals to "cut the cost of politics", in a policy speech in London.

'Winning matters'

In a statement on his demotion on Monday, Mr Duncan said: "This is a sensible decision. You have to be realistic about how difficult the expenses issue has been.

"What matters most is winning the election and David Cameron becoming the prime minister.

"I don't want to be a brake on that by making a difficult issue more problematic. I am very happy to get stuck into another job."

Mr Cameron said: "I'm grateful for Alan's work as shadow leader of the House and I'm sure he will continue to make a valuable contribution as shadow justice minister."

Mr Duncan replaces Edward Garnier as shadow prisons minister. Mr Garnier is appointed shadow attorney general, also a non-shadow cabinet role.

This position was previously held by shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve, who did both jobs.


Mr Duncan was secretly filmed in July by Heydon Prowse, of Don't Panic magazine, complaining about changes to the system of MPs' expenses.

A video shows the MP on the House of Commons terrace saying: "No-one who's done anything in the outside world or is capable of doing such a thing will ever come into this place ever again the way we're going."

Going on to use strong language, he adds: "Basically it has been nationalised. You have to live on rations and you are treated like shit."

After the footage was made public last month, Mr Duncan offered an "unreserved" apology.

At the time Mr Cameron ruled out sacking his colleague, but acknowledged he had made a "bad mistake".

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