MP Matthew Hancock punished for misusing stationery

Matthew Hancock
Image caption Matthew Hancock apologised for sending 3,000 letters to his constituents

An MP has been made to repay £1,674 after being found to have misused House of Commons facilities.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock, Conservative MP for West Suffolk, sent letters trumpeting the government's achievements to 3,000 homes.

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner upheld a complaint from a constituent in Suffolk that it was "blatant campaigning".

Mr Hancock has apologised and will pay the money from his political funds.

The letters were sent in pre-paid House of Commons envelopes and included a survey asking people how they voted.

Mr Hancock used 3,100 envelopes and 6,200 pieces of paper, worth £1,674, for "party political purposes".

'Not right'

John Insole, who used to be a Labour councillor on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, complained after receiving the letter at his home in Haverhill.

"I saw the crown and the portcullis and thought 'has my preferment come through at last?'," he said. "Inside I was quite disappointed.

"What I got was an election leaflet under a House of Commons postage-paid envelope.

"I wasn't too pleased, because as a taxpayer I'm paying for it.

"These things are just not right. It was blatant electioneering."

In a statement, Mr Hancock said: "In my job, it is important to be able to communicate with the residents of West Suffolk so I can represent them effectively in Parliament.

"Unfortunately, in my desire to keep in touch and consult with my constituents, I sent out a letter that has been deemed, unintentionally, to be political rather than Parliamentary.

"The two are not clearly defined."

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