Justice minister stands down ahead of investigation

May 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

shahis
Shahid Malik has announced he is to stand down from the goverment while an investigation into the home he rents in his Dewsbury constituency is conducted.

Mr Malik, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Gordon Brown this morning.

“We agreed that the best way forward in the face of this specific allegation was for me to step to one side as an interim measure and allow Sir Philip Mawer (the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code of Conduct) to look into the matter,” he said.

“I’m pleased to have this opportunity to clear my name.

“I would like to make it clear that this inquiry has nothing whatsoever to do with my expense claims but relates to an allegation regarding my rent which, if true, would breach the ministerial code.

“I am confident that there has been no such breach and look forward to the findings of the inquiry so that I can continue to serve my constituents as their MP and the country as a minister with my head held high.”

The Daily Telegraph reported today that Mr Malik rents a house at “well below the market rate” from a landlord who has a previous conviction for letting an uninhabitable property.

Using a ministerial position for financial gain is a breach of the code.

“There have been accusations made in the past 24 hours against Shahid Malik, in particular that he received preferential rent on his main residence,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.

“Because that allegation would represent a potential financial benefit and that potential and alleged financial benefit was not declared as part of his ministerial declaration, this could represent a breach of the ministerial code.

“In the light of these accusations that have been made against Shahid Malik and the need for them to be properly investigated, the Prime Minister has asked the independent adviser, Sir Philip Mawer, to establish the facts of the matter as a matter of urgency and advise accordingly.”

For the past week The Telegraph has published details of MPs’ expense claims.

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