Mr McNulty, who has agreed to pay back more than £13,000 in second home allowances, was speaking after apologising unreservedly to the Commons yesterday.

The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee found he had effectively been “subsidising” his parents from public funds.

He said: “In the end it’ll be for my constituents and the electorate to determine what my future will be.

“I know that people will see it differently in terms of their perception, but let’s be clear, in the body of the commissioner’s report he actually says there was no loss in any terms to the taxpayer.

“It may be a system that the people don’t like, and I understand the debate around that, but I think overwhelmingly the MPs have not been fiddling, diddling and going into criminality.”

But he admitted that some of the claims by his fellow MPs had been “excessive” and in “bad form”.

Mr McNulty added: “My abiding reason for all my arrangements was, ‘How can I do my role as MP in the best way possible?’

“They were, whatever people think of the system, as straightforward and parsimonious as possible.

“I care deeply what people think and that’s why I did apologise to the House, I meant the apology to the House.”

In a report to the committee, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards John Lyon found that Mr McNulty was entitled to claim on the house in his Harrow constituency, even though it was only nine miles from his main home.

But he said the former employment and home office minister had overclaimed in relation to the time he spent there in connection with his parliamentary duties.

As a result, Mr McNulty and his parents, who were living rent-free at the property, had “obtained a benefit from parliamentary funds to which he was not entitled”.

In his statement to MPs, Mr McNulty said he had followed the guidance given by the Commons Fees Office but accepted Mr Lyon was entitled to take a different view of the rules and to impose it retrospectively.

“I should have been much clearer about my arrangements and taken steps to ensure that I was not open to any charge of benefit and should have had much more concern for how these rules were perceived by the public, rather than just following them,” he said.

“I apologise for any part I have played in the diminution of the standing of this House in the eyes of the public. It is, however, time to move on. I apologise to the House once again without reservation.”

Mr McNulty became one of the most high-profile casualties of the MPs’ expenses scandal when he resigned as employment minister last June in Gordon Brown’s Government reshuffle.

Asked in Brussels if it was right that Mr McNulty should stand again at the general election, Mr Brown said the committee had “chosen to ask him to pay back his money and apologise to the House of Commons and that is what he’s done.”