After being told he faced a year’s suspension from the House of Commons and immediate suspension from the Labour party, Denis MacShane has announced that he is stepping down as an MP. He released this statement this afternoon:
‘In the light of the Parliamentary Commissioner’s decision supported by the Committee of Standards and Privileges to uphold the BNP complaint about expenses claimed in connection with my parliamentary work in Europe and in combating anti-semitism I have decided for the sake of my wonderful constituency of Rotherham and my beloved Labour Party to resign as an MP by applying for the Chiltern Hundreds or as guided by the House authorities.
‘I have been overwhelmed by messages of support for my work as an MP on a range of issues but I accept that my parliamentary career is over. I appreciate the Committee’s ruling that I made no personal gain and I regret my foolishness in the manner I chose to be reimbursed for work including working as the Prime Minister’s personal envoy in Europe. I want to thank the people of Rotherham for allowing me to serve as their MP and the Labour Party for allowing me over the years to fight for the causes I believe in.
‘I have received so many messages supporting me from Labour and Tory MPs as well as members of the public but I love the House of Commons and I hope by resigning I can serve by showing that MPs must take responsibility for their mistakes and accept the consequences of being in breach of the House rules.’
Though the Standards and Privileges Committee’s report found he had ‘plainly intended to deceive’, MacShane’s statement argued the 19 false invoices that he submitted were ‘in connection with my parliamentary work and in combating anti-semitism’. But he was clear that ‘by resigning I can serve by showing that MPs must take responsibility for their mistakes’. On that count he is right: had he clung on to his seat, it could have seriously undermined public trust in parliament.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.