Moran expenses inquiry suspended

Probe postponed due to MP's sickness

An inquiry into Luton South MP Margaret Moran's conduct regarding her expenses has been suspended due to her ill health.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards investigates complaints about MPs who may be in breach of House of Commons rules, and launched a probe into Ms Moran's actions following the revelations over her expenses claims. It is understood she referred herself to the commissioner.

But on Monday a spokesman for the watchdog said the investigation had been brought to a halt due to the illness that has kept the MP off work since the expenses scandal broke in May.

She said: "The Committee on Standards and Privileges has suspended the inquiry. We hope her health improves to the extent that the it can be concluded."

It looks as though the MP will be made to repay any expenses she should not have claimed, after the Commons Members Estimates Committee (MEC) rubber-stamped recommendations made in an independent review.

A statement from the committee said: "The MEC expects that members will voluntarily repay any sums found to have been overclaimed but it will propose that if necessary the money be recovered by setting off sums owed against future payments of allowances and/or salary."

MPs will get a chance to appeal against the demands for repayment.

Ms Moran has remained tight-lipped over how much she was told to repay by Sir Thomas Legg, who concluded his review of MPs' expenses in October. But the details of her repayments will be revealed when his report is published in full next year after any appeals have concluded.