By politics.co.uk staff
Former Tory chairman Caroline Spelman has been rebuked by the parliamentary standards watchdog.
Ms Spelman, who is now shadow communities and local government secretary, referred the case to the sleaze watchdog herself after reports emerged concerning her use of a nanny last summer.
The watchdog said she broke rules inadvertently, thereby earning her nothing more than a rap on the knuckles.
But it also asked her to pay back some of the money.
Ms Spelman paid a nanny out of public funds between 1997 and 1999, although she argued the woman was also employed as her part-time constituency secretary, making the payment legitimate.
But Tina Hayes, the nanny at the centre of the inquiry, said she only "posted the odd letter and took the odd phone call", prompting the investigation.
Under parliamentary rules, MPs are not allowed to claim expenses for activities not directly related to their jobs.
Ms Spelman played a significant role in prompting the resignation of Conservative MEP leader in Brussels, Giles Chichester, last year after allegations he had broken European parliament rules on expenses.