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MP Glenda Jackson apologises for £7,500 proof-reading error

PUBLISHED: 16:18 22 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 07 September 2010

By Katie Davies GLENDA Jackson has apologised after breaching parliamentary rules by spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on a magazine containing a political survey. The Hampstead and Highgate MP was contacted by the Ham&High after it emerged

By Katie Davies

GLENDA Jackson has apologised after breaching parliamentary rules by spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on a magazine containing a political survey.

The Hampstead and Highgate MP was contacted by the Ham&High after it emerged she had dipped into her expense account to pay for Community First magazine.

Distributed to her 50,000 constituents, the magazine contained a survey asking readers for information on which party they preferred. Under parliamentary rules, this type of data collection must be paid for from her party's coffers.

Originally Labour MP Ms Jackson denied any wrongdoing, stating emphatically that the taxpayer should pay for the magazine and its distribution - estimated at £7,500.

At the time she said: "This is a parliamentary report and it's a two-way process. It's about finding out about what the public think as well. We canvas opinions all the time. This is absolutely about helping me do my job as an MP."

But this week she admitted she should never have used the public's cash for the project.

She said: "When we became aware that concerns had been raised, we investigated the matter and sought advice from the parliamentary commissioner for standards and have now ascertained that I did in fact infringe the rules. I can only apologise for this lapse, which I attribute to poor proofreading on my part.

"I have now made arrangements to repay the cost of producing the magazine to the House of Commons.

"I can also assure you that I have put procedures in place in my office to ensure that such an oversight does not occur again and am grateful to those who brought the matter to my attention."

Rival politicians for her parliamentary seat have criticised the MP. Tory candidate Chris Philp said: "This is clearly an outrageous waste of taxpayers' money at a time when hard-working families are feeling the pinch.

"It's no wonder that she has to send things to her constituents though - we see her in Hampstead so infrequently.

"I have lived here almost 10 years and been a councillor for two and a half, and I have only seen her twice, both in the last month before an election.

"This is going to be a key marginal between Labour and the Tories and she knows that, which is why she's started magically appearing."

Lib Dem candidate Ed Fordham said: "This is a reflection of how poorly advised Glenda has been.

"This is a very, very basic error - one that any MP who had been assiduous in their duties for the last 16 years would have known about.

"This is legislation that the Labour government introduced to stamp out Tory sleaze. You'd think that an MP who has served for this length of time would know better."

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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