MPs are "paragons of virtue" compared to politicians in other countries, a senior Conservative has insisted.

Parliament's reputation has plummeted after the latest bout of sleaze and expenses claims but Colonel Bob Stewart insisted MPs were "human" and sometimes "make a mistake".

The former United Nations Commander of ­British Forces in Bosnia said he has experience of corrupt nations. "Our MPs, by comparison, are paragons of virtue," he said. "The expenses scandal continues, everyone is human, they make mistakes."

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Earlier this week David Cameron admitted that he under-estimated the depth of the "raw" public anger over MPs' expenses after Maria Miller quit as Culture Secretary for wrongly claiming thousands of pounds in mortgage interest payments.

Westminster's reputation was damaged further when an investigation found there was a prevailing "climate of sexual harassment" in parliament.