Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Saturday, 16 May 2009 20:26 UK

Brown promises expenses sanctions

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is eager to restore the public's trust in MPs

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he "does not rule out any sanction", as he pledges to restore trust after the expenses revelations.

Writing in the News of the World newspaper, Mr Brown said he was "under no illusions that repayment will not necessarily be sufficient sanction".

"Unacceptable behaviour will be investigated and disciplined," he said.

The prime minister's comments came after a second Labour MP was suspended over alleged expenses irregularities.

The Daily Telegraph alleged that Bury North MP David Chaytor claimed nearly £13,000 in mortgage interest on his London flat after the mortgage had been paid off.

It was the latest in a string of claims published by the newspaper about MPs of all parties.

Earlier in the week, Labour MP Elliot Morley was suspended after he admitted claiming for a mortgage that had already been cleared.

Justice Minister Shahid Malik stood down from his post pending an inquiry into his expenses.

'Possible fraud'

In an article written for the News of the World, Mr Brown said he was "appalled and angered" at the revelations.

"I want to assure every citizen of my commitment to a complete clean up of the system," he added. "That wherever and whenever immediate disciplinary action is required I will take it."

David Chaytor - suspended from Parliamentary Labour Party after reports he claimed £13,000 for a mortgage he had already paid off
Elliot Morley - suspended from Parliamentary Labour Party after admitting claiming £16,000 for a mortgage he had already paid off
Shahid Malik - resigned as justice minister pending inquiry into his expenses
Andrew MacKay - quit as parliamentary aide to David Cameron over "unacceptable" expenses claim

The BBC's political correspondent Carole Walker said the prime minister had a number of disciplinary options at his disposal, including expelling individuals from the Labour party or the government itself.

Earlier, Peter Kenyon, a member of Labour's national executive committee, said MPs who had abused the system could find themselves deselected by the party.

He said it was a matter of deciding which claims were "dodgy".

Three types of transgression - possible fraud, MPs playing the property market for personal gain, and extravagant and unjustifiable claims for goods and services - had been identified, he said.

"What we would expect is that the NEC, at its meeting on Tuesday, will clarify the rules that would apply in the cases that would appear to us and to the general public to be incontrovertible and where decisive action has got to be taken," he added.

Support plummeting

David Cameron has already stated that Conservative MPs must repay any "excessive" expenses claims or face expulsion from from the party.

The Tory leader has also banned the practice of second home "flipping" and ordered that all expenses claims be published online.

On Thursday, Andrew MacKay, a parliamentary aide to Mr Cameron, resigned over what were branded "unacceptable" expenses claims.

The Metropolitan Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service are due to meet next week to discuss whether a criminal investigation should be launched into some of the Telegraph's allegations about MPs.

Meanwhile, a BPIX poll of 2,300 people for the Mail on Sunday newspaper found 17% of voters planned to vote Labour at the European elections next month - the same percentage which pledged to vote for the UK Independence Party.

A second poll by ComRes for the Independent on Sunday revealed Labour gained 21% of the projected vote, compared with 40% for the Tories, 18% for the Lib Dems and 21% for "other parties", such as Green and UKIP.

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