Labour MP faces probe for misusing taxpayer cash to fund campaign in ‘very serious’ breach

Philip Hammond addresses Liam Byrne's infamous note

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The Hodge Hill MP is accused of using resources earmarked purely for the use of carrying out his parliamentary duties to help fund his campaign to become West Midlands mayor. Strict rules given to MPs state politicians should not use resources from taxpayers’ money to “confer undue advantage on a political organisation”.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen formally complained to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) in April about Mr Byrne’s conduct.

Mr Byrne went on to lose the contest to the Conservative incumbent in May.

Andy Street was re-elected with a 54 percent share of the final vote to Mr Byrne’s 46 percent.

This week IPSA confirmed it would be launching an inquiry into the Labour candidate’s conduct.

The MP has denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement, IPSA said: “The Compliance Officer for IPSA has opened an investigation to determine whether Mr Liam Byrne MP has been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses that should not have been allowed.

“An investigation will be conducted into claims submitted under the following areas of the Scheme: Staffing and Office Costs in 2019/20.

“In accordance with the legislation and the procedures for investigation made thereunder, no further information will be published until the investigation has been concluded.”

Mr Bridgen accused Mr Byrne of using his parliamentary staff to help run his mayoral election.

The MP’s constituency assistant described part of their role on LinkedIn as being to manage his “campaigns”.

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His former parliamentary head of research also said on a bio for their new employer that they had “developed local policy for the West Midlands Metropolitan Mayoral campaign”.

Mr Bridgen told this website: “His own office manager who is paid for by IPSA said they spent time working on his campaign.

“I’m pleased IPSA are investigating.

“You can’t use taper funds for political campaigns. You can’t do that.

“It’s a very serious matter that needs to be looked at.”

Express.co.uk has spoken to one member of the Labour team who said Mr Byrne’s campaign was struggling financially after the contest dragged on for an extra year due to the pandemic.

They said the team was doing “whatever possible” to boost resources.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

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