Hertsmere's former MP Cecil Parkinson was embroiled in controversy last week when his 18-year-old daughter appeared in a television documentary.

Lord Parkinson, who was MP for Hertsmere between 1974 and 1992, has been criticised over the upbringing of his daughter, Flora, whose mother was once his assistant, Sara Keays.

Miss Keays claimed on television last week that Lord Parkinson had tried to have Flora, who has learning difficulties, put into a mental institution to save money. Earlier this week the 70-year-old peer hit back, and produced financial records to show that he had spent more than £500,000 supporting his 18-year-old daughter.

He denied he had tried to have her put in a mental institution, and was reported as saying: "Far from trying to wash my hands of Flora, I have done everything possible to look after her for the rest of her life."

Hertsmere's current MP, James Clappison, defended Lord Parkinson, saying he had been: "A fantastic MP, who worked very hard for his constituents during the time he was MP for Hertsmere."