UK Politics

Justin Tomlinson faces suspension for Wonga report leak

Justin Tomlinson Image copyright HoC

Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson faces a two-day suspension from the Commons for leaking a draft committee report.

The ex-minister had shared the findings of an inquiry into Regulating Consumer Credit with a Wonga employee in 2013.

The Privileges Committee found he "committed a contempt" and said his actions "constituted substantial interference" with the inquiry.

Addressing the Commons on Thursday, Mr Tomlinson, North Swindon MP, issued a "full and unreserved apology".

The House is due to vote on the MP's proposed suspension when Parliament returns from the conference recess in October.

'Clouded judgement'

The incident happened when Mr Tomlinson was a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in May 2013.

He gave a confidential draft report on regulating consumer credit to an employee from payday lender Wonga, who replied with comments and suggested amendments to the report.

The MP said at the time that his judgement had "been clouded", apologised and accepted he broke the rules.

An inquiry was launched by Parliament's Standards and Privileges Committee, and in a report published on Thursday, it recommended "that Mr Tomlinson apologise to the House by means of a personal statement and that he be suspended from the service of the House for two sitting days".

"These days should be consecutive and not be divided by non-sitting days or recesses which would inadvertently extend the period of suspension beyond that specified," it added.

Mr Tomlinson apologised to the House of Commons on Thursday, his voice appearing to waver at times during his statement.

He told MPs: "I accept that my actions in sharing the report constituted an interference in the work of the PAC and for this I am truly sorry. This was never my intention."

He said his actions were a result of his "own naivety, driven by a desire to strengthen legislation on payday lenders and protect vulnerable consumers".

This had been confirmed by the Privileges Committee, which found that he was "not motivated by financial gain" nor with the intention of reflecting Wonga's views, he said.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites