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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
MP suspended from Commons
Clive Betts
Clive Betts applied for a security pass for his assistant
A Sheffield Labour MP is beginning a seven-day ban from the Commons over his part in a bogus immigration bid by a former male escort who worked as his assistant.

The penalty recommended for Sheffield Attercliffe MP Clive Betts after he was found guilty of breaching the MPs' code of conduct by a parliamentary watchdog was approved without a vote.

A report by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee concluded in July that Mr Betts acted "extremely foolishly" in agreeing to copy a doctored document which Brazilian Jose Gasparo hoped would help him extend his stay in the UK.

And it found that in applying for a parliamentary security pass for Mr Gasparo - who was working as his assistant and who he described as a close friend - Mr Betts risked damaging public confidence in the integrity of Parliament.

Unreserved apology

Mr Betts gave an "unreserved apology" in a personal statement to MPs when the report was published.

Presenting the report to the Commons on Thursday, committee chairman Tory former Cabinet minister Sir George Young said it had been a "difficult" case but had resulted in a unanimous report.

Houses of Parliament
The committee concluded Mr Betts acted foolishly
Deputy Commons Leader Phil Woolas backed the committee's recommendation.

"Matters of this kind reflect on the integrity of the House as a whole and, of course, upon each one of us individually.

"It is important therefore that we should show unity in responding to them fairly but robustly."

He said Mr Betts had been the first MP to ask for an investigation into allegations about his behaviour - in the wake of newspaper reports.

Shadow Commons leader Eric Forth said while the investigation had reached "a rather painful conclusion" it was important that the public saw that MPs were "capable and prepared to properly regulate ourselves".

MP faces Commons suspension
17 Jul 03  |  Politics
Clive Betts
16 Oct 02  |  Politics

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