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Jacqui Smith, UK Minister, Apologizes For Porn Movies On Expenses

MEERA SELVA   03/29/09 01:47 PM ET   AP

Britain Terror Laws

LONDON — Britain's Home Secretary apologized Sunday for putting five pay-per-view movies on her parliamentary expense account _ including two X-rated ones screened by her husband.

Jacqui Smith admitted she should not have claimed any of the movies and said all the money would be paid back. She attributed the mistake to not being careful enough with a service package that included both Internet and TV.

"I am sorry that in claiming for my Internet connection, I mistakenly claimed for a television package alongside it," Smith said in a statement. "As soon as the matter was brought to my attention, I took immediate steps to contact the relevant parliamentary authorities and rectify the situation."

Smith put on her expenses two unnamed adult movies shown on pay-per-view television channels at her family home in April 2008 at 5 pounds ($7) each, as well as three other movies _ two viewings of "Ocean's Thirteen" and one of "Surf's Up" at 3.75 pounds ($5) each.

Smith's spokeswoman said the adult movies were X-rated and had scenes of a sexual nature.

"X-rated is not the same as porn," the spokewoman said, refusing to elaborate. She spoke anonymously in line with government policy and would not release the names of the X-rated movies.

British media reported that the adult movies were watched by Smith's husband Richard Timney _ who said he was sorry for any embarrassment he caused his wife.

"I can fully understand why people might be angry and offended by this," he said. "Quite obviously a claim should never have been made for these films, and as you know that money is being paid back."

Smith is already under investigation by the parliamentary ethics watchdog over the thousands of pounds (dollars) in expenses she has claimed on her home in Redditch, in central England. She says that house is her second home _ with her sister's home in London being her main residence.

The government backed Smith on Sunday.

"Jacqui Smith has done the right thing by taking steps to rectify this inadvertent mistake as soon as she became aware of it," Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said.

The Home Secretary is in charge of Britain's police and anti-terror forces, as well as enforcing the country's immigration and drug laws.

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Filed by Hanna Ingber Win  |