TONY McNulty has quit the Government over the ongoing probe into his second home expenses, but says he will be exonerated of any wrongdoing.
The Labour MP for Harrow East stood down as Minister for London and Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform on Friday and returned to the backbenches for the first time in a decade.
He is being investigated over whether he was correct to claim expenses from the taxpayer to cover the mortgage interest payments on his second property in Wealdstone, in which his parents live, but where he claimed to have stayed some of the time on Parliamentary business.
In his resignation letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Mr McNulty wrote: "These difficult times have exacted a personal toll on many Members of Parliament and ministers.
"While I trust that the preliminary inquiry into my allowance claims being conducted by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards will completely exonerate me from any breaches of the spirit or the letter of the rules, it has been immensely difficult for me to give full attention to my job with this issue hanging over my head.
"It is for this reason and with immense regret that I feel that I must stand aside from Government.
"This is a personal decision and I hope it will not contribute to any further speculation about the stability of the Government."
Mr McNulty told Mr Brown: "A change of leader is the last thing we need and I am sure that common sense will prevail and that the party will unite around your leadership with a refreshed Cabinet."
In a reply from 10 Downing Street, Mr Brown wrote: "You have played an important role in the success of the Government. You have been a strong and compelling voice for London around the Cabinet table.
"I believe it will not be long before you will return to Government."
Later asked if he intended to seek re-election at next year’s General Election, Mr McNulty said: "I have no reason to think I won’t be. I’m happy to be MP for Harrow East and will continue to serve."