15/03/2012 10:19 GMT

Liam Fox 'Should Be Fined £3,000' For Letting Adam Werritty Stay In His Taxpayer-Funded Flat

Former defence secretary Liam Fox should be fined £3,000 for letting his close friend Adam Werritty stay in his taxpayer funded flat, MPs have said.

In a report published on Thursday, the committee on standards and privileges agreed with the parliamentary sleaze watchdog, that Fox had given Werritty "considerable financial benefit" be allowing him to stay in his London home between October 2002 and October 2003.

"We recommend that Dr Fox repay £3,000 to cover the period in which his friend was staying in his Additional Cost Allowance [expenses] funded accommodation after the revised Green Book had put the rules beyond doubt," the committee said.

The MPs also recommended that Fox apologise in writing for breaching Commons rules by allowing Werritty to use his office in parliament to run his Atlantic Bridge charity.

"We would have proposed a heavier penalty if Dr Fox had not raised the use of his office with the House Authorities," they added.

Fox was forced to quit as defence secretary in December last year following days of questions over his working relationship with Werritty.

The investigation was launched following a complaint from Labour MP John Mann who said Fox should have resigned from parliament as well as the cabinet.

John Lyons, the parliamentary standards commissioner, found in an initial investigation that Atlantic Bridge had unfairly benefited financially from the arrangements.

"The organisation had the significant benefit of free office accommodation in central London," he said.

"This included heating and lighting as well as access to the facilities on the parliamentary estate. Those benefits were provided from public resources. They were benefits to which, in my judgement, the organisation was not entitled."