Abbott apologises over television payments

Labour MP Diane Abbott has apologised to the House of Commons for not declaring payments for television work.

Ms Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, failed to register £17,300 she earned from appearances on BBC One’s This Week show. Ms Abbott appears as a political commentator on the television programme alongside Conservative MP Michael Portillo.

In a personal statement, Ms Abbott apologised and said she took “full responsibility” for the error. She had informed the parliamentary standards watchdog that the omission was “completely inadvertent” and had been instructed to apologise to the House by the Commons standards and privileges committee.

Upholding the complaint against Ms Abbott, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, said: “There was no attempt to conceal her involvement in the programme and it did not occur to her that anybody would think she was not being paid for it.

“This does not, however, obviate the need for her to register her remuneration for that work.”

In her apology, Ms Abbott said that she supported the principle of “transparency” but said that, given the public nature of her work, no one could have thought that she was trying to conceal anything.

Ms Abbott is no stranger to controversy. Last years she came under fire for her decision to send her son to a private school instead of a local state school.

The complaint against Ms Abbott was made by Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell.