Page last updated at 00:54 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

MP Conway apologises for payments

Derek Conway
Derek Conway has said he will stand down at the next election

MP Derek Conway has apologised "without qualification" after he was ordered to return 3,757 of taxpayers' money paid to his elder son Henry.

He also asked to withdraw comments made last week in which he accused Labour of using his story to deflect attention from the row over money paid to peers.

Mr Conway told the Commons he accepted "without any reservation" that he had breached the rules of the House.

The MP was expelled from the Conservative Party last year.

He was ejected after being ordered to return 13,161 paid to his younger son Freddie to work as a researcher while he was a student in Newcastle.

Radio comments

Last week, the Commons' Standards and Privileges Committee said Mr Conway had made a "serious lapse of judgement" in overpaying Henry for work he did in 2004.

Mr Conway insisted then that he had "complied with the rules which existed at the time" and said the committee had given a "subjective opinion, made with hindsight".

But on Monday he told the committee's chairman Sir George Young he apologised "without qualification".

Henry Conway
Henry Conway worked for his father Derek in 2004

"Will you accept that I repeat without qualification the apology I've already given you in writing and say that I accept without any reservation the committee's conclusion that I breached a rule of the House," he said.

Mr Conway also withdrew comments made to LBC Radio last Thursday, in which he said the Labour Party was trying to get the peers row "off the front pages".

He also suggested to the station that his case had attracted particular scrutiny because Henry was gay and had a "flamboyant" nature.

Following Mr Conway's remarks to the House, Sir George replied: "I'm very grateful to you. It means I can discard the next three pages of my speech."

Mr Conway, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, has said he will stand down at the next general election.

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