RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans said he was being “ironic” in secretly filmed footage of him joking about the expenses scandal.
Mr Evans was recorded with fellow Tory Alan Duncan in the House of Commons’ Strangers Bar joking he had had to make his sandwiches himself to earn more cash.
“It's my second job”, he was filmed as saying. “Got to have a second income, mate, couldn't survive on 64," he said, in a reference to the MPs' annual salary of £64,766.
Mr Duncan has been forced to apologise after he was recorded saying MPs were being “treated like ****” since the expenses scandal.
The pair were secretly filmed by campaigner Heydon Prowse of the Don't Panic magazine and website after he was invited to the Commons by Mr Duncan.
Mr Evans said: “Irony is better verbally than in print. Clearly anyone who knows me, knows I was joking.
“I think Alan knows he has made a mistake. He has apologised and quite rightly so.
“Everyone knows there is a queue of people who would see it as an honour to be an MP. People of quality will want to do this job. It is service first.”
Mr Duncan, the shadow leader of the House, issued a statement insisting his remarks had been made in jest but has faced calls to resign by opposition MPs.
On the video, posted on the internet, Mr Duncan is heard complaining that MPs were being forced to live on rations and that in future no capable person would want to enter Parliament.
Mr Prowse, who filmed the footage, said that he thought that Mr Evans’ comments needed to be taken “with a pinch of salt”.
But he said: “This was at the height of the scandal, but the attitude was that it was all a bit of a joke.”