Hain apologises to Commons

Peter Hain says sorry
Peter Hain says sorry

By Alex Stevenson

Former work and pensions secretary Peter Hain delivered his apology to the Commons this afternoon over "serious and substantial" breaches of parliament's code of conduct on donations.

The Neath MP had to step down from the Cabinet because of his failure to register donations of £103,000 for his unsuccessful bid to be Labour's deputy leader.

Last week the parliamentary commissioner for standards issued his report on the matter, concluding that frontbenchers' pressures could not excuse them from their "obligations" under the rules of the House.

It ordered him to apologise to the Commons, which he did in a personal statement to the chamber this afternoon.

"My failure to declare to the registrar of members' interests, within the time required, all of the donations to my campaign for the deputy leadership of the Labour party was wrong," he said.

"I note that the committee fully accepts that I acted with 'commendable speed to rectify' this once I had discovered the problem - indeed a month before any complaint was made against me - and that there was 'no intention to deceive'. I have always accepted full responsibility for this honest mistake and I apologise unreservedly to the House."

MPs greeted the apology with cries of 'hear hear', after which several Labour backbenchers patted him on the back sympathetically.

"Thanks for coming," he was heard to tell them.


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