Page last updated at 08:46 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 09:46 UK

Jacqui Smith's marriage 'strong'

Richard Timney and Jacqui Smith
Both Mr Timney and Ms Smith have apologised

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said her marriage is "strong" despite revelations she claimed expenses for adult films watched by her husband.

She admitted to the Sunday Telegraph that she was "mortified" when the inadvertent claim was made public.

Ms Smith has previously apologised for "mistakenly" claiming £10 for the films which Mr Timney watched in April 2008.

She is also being investigated after claiming at least £116,000 for her constituency house in Worcestershire.

Ms Smith is being investigated by the parliamentary commissioner for standards, John Lyon, over her decision to claim second-home allowances for her family home, while stating her main residence - the one at which she spends most time - as her sister's home in London, where she rents a room.

'Private life'

The home secretary said she had claimed for a TV package when billing for a web connection under her second homes allowance and would repay the money.

Mr Timney has also issued an apology for the claim, and said he was sorry for embarrassing his wife.

Ms Smith told the newspaper: "We've got a strong relationship both personally and professionally - in terms of the work he does in my constituency office. And it's still strong now."

It should never have got within a million miles of being an expenses claim
Jacqui Smith
Home Secretary

But asked about reports her husband had been "banished to the sofa", she replied: "I think I should be very open about my expenses, but there are bits of my private life that I don't think should be open to public scrutiny."

She said that the couple's sons, aged 10 and 13, were "fine" in the wake of the scandal, but admitted she had been angered by the affair.

"I was angry and mortified that I had done it, that we had done it," she said.

"I thought that that was the wrong thing to do and that's why what we immediately did was apologise and pay the money back.

"That was what I was angry about. It should never have got within a million miles of being an expenses claim. That's why I've apologised for it."

In the wake of the row, the Committee on Standards in Public Life has announced a wide-ranging review of MPs' pay and allowances, starting later this year.

It came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote to the committee calling for a full review into "outside interests" and second jobs.

Meanwhile, parliament's standards commissioner John Lyon is also investigating a complaint about Labour minister Tony McNulty's second home expenses.

The work minister has claimed £60,000 since 2002 for the house in his Harrow constituency - 11 miles from the Commons - where his parents live. He has said he did not break any rules.



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