DEWSBURY’S MP has resigned from the Government.
Shahid Malik stood down as justice minister at 11am today after becoming the latest politician caught up in the expenses scandal.
But a Conservative councillor told the Examiner that the Labour man’s resignation "wouldn’t wash with the electorate".
Today’s dramatic move came after a national newspaper said Mr Malik designated his London flat as his second home, allowing him to claim more than £60,000 on the property over three years.
The newspaper report claimed he designated a three-bedroom house in Dewsbury as his main home, paying £100 rent a week from his own pocket.
The Daily Telegraph also revealed that the MP claimed £2,100 for a 40-inch flat-screen television, though House of Commons authorities only paid out half this amount.
Mr Malik strenuously denied any wrongdoing today.
He said: "I have done absolutely nothing to apologise for. Once I explain the situation to my constituents, I’m sure they will be more understanding than the media are."
Mr Malik told BBC News this morning that his London flat was his second home, allowing him to legitimately claim expenses on the property.
He said: "I spend half the week in London and half in Dewsbury. But when Parliament is in recess I spend the majority of my time in Dewsbury.
"I’m the first MP since the Second World War to live in Dewsbury and I’m proud of that."
Mr Malik added that the House of Commons fees office had effectively given the green light for him to buy a £2,000 TV.
He said: "I asked if there was a limit and they said ‘just buy whatever you would buy for your home’. Then when I submitted the claim they said I was above the limit.
"I don’t feel I was well served. I sought advise and it wasn’t forthcoming."
However Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt rubbished Mr Malik’s resignation as justice minister.
The Conservative said: "I would be a lot happier if he resigned as an MP. I don’t think it’s much in the way of retribution or apology.
"Did he jump or was he pushed by Gordon Brown? I don’t think this will wash with the electorate."
He added that Mr Malik did not in fact live in the Dewsbury constituency. Clr Bolt said that Mr Malik’s home in Dewsbury Moor was actually just across the boundary in the Batley and Spen constituency.
He said: "As an MP, Mr Malik will be aware of his constituency boundaries. You’d have thought he could have found a home in his constituency. Where is he registered as a voter?"