Hume MP Angus Taylor rejects falsification claims

Under fire: Hume MP Angus Taylor has the backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison despite a police investigation into a controversial letter. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen
Under fire: Hume MP Angus Taylor has the backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison despite a police investigation into a controversial letter. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

Hume MP Angus Taylor has hit back at claims he deliberately falsified figures in a letter sent to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

NSW Police are in the 'early stages' of investigating the origins of a letter the Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister sent to Ms Moore, criticising her for spending more than $15 million in council money on domestic and international travel.

However, the figures cited in the letter were vastly larger than the close to $6000 found in a 2017/18 Sydney council report currently available online.

"Detectives from the state crime command's financial crime squad have launched Strike Force Garrad to investigate the matters and determine if any criminal offences have been committed," a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

Mr Taylor admitted the number he quoted wasn't accurate, but rejected calls from Labor politicians that he should step down while police investigate.

"On September 9, my office, in preparing a reply letter from City of Sydney Lord Mayor, accessed a report of the City of Sydney website," Mr Taylor said.

"The details in that report were the basis of my letter to the Lord Mayor.

"What is clear now is that the numbers in that document were not correct.

"I reject absolutely the suggestion that I, or any members of my staff, altered the document in question.

"However, I will be writing to the Lord Mayor to offer my apologies for not clarifying those numbers with the City of Sydney before writing to her."

Mr Taylor said there were differing versions of the same report on the City of Sydney council's website.

He said Labor had "dramatically overreached by claiming the documents were forged or altered" - "there is absolutely no basis for these assertions."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stood by Mr Taylor throughout the scandal in the past couple of weeks.

He spoke to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and said, "based on the information provided to me by the commissioner, I consider there is no action required by me".

"I take matters of ministerial standards very seriously," Mr Morrison said.

"The police should now be left to complete their inquiries."

- with AAP