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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 19:46 GMT
Party votes out Reading MP
Jane Griffiths
Jane Griffiths is pro-European and a Blair loyalist
The Reading Labour party has voted overwhelmingly to deselect Jane Griffiths MP as its member of parliament for Reading East.

Elected in 1997, Mrs Griffiths has become the first member of parliament to be deselected by her constituency in 10 years.

The 49-year-old has fallen out with local party members because of what has been described as personality issues.

Voters instead chose Reading councillor Tony Page to fight the seat at the next election.

Iraq issue

The chair of Reading Labour Party Stuart Singleton-White said: "We want to thank Jane Griffiths for her hard work as an MP.

"I hope that Labour party members can now put the selection process behind them and concentrate on the issues that matter to the people of Reading."

Mrs Griffiths was outspoken on a number of issues, including her support for the government's military action in Iraq.

She also embraced some policies well outside the Blairite mainstream, such as her call for legalised brothels.

She also caused controversy locally, saying a small number of men in the Labour party wanted to get rid of her.

Tony Page
Tony Page has been a Reading councillor for more than 30 years
This claim was rejected by 17 female members of the party who signed an open letter to a local newspaper denouncing "wild conspiracy theories" by the MP.

A former translator for the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and BBC editor, Mrs Griffiths speaks five languages and is pro-European and a Blair loyalist.

She left the meeting accompanied by party officials without making any comment.

She had earlier described herself as "Labour through and through" and said that if deselected she would not stand as an independent candidate against Labour.

Mr Page said he hoped he could now reunite the local party.

No figures have yet been given for Sunday's vote, but officials say it was overwhelmingly in favour of Mr Page.

He was chosen despite two convictions for indecency in 1989 and 1995, which he said his party colleagues and the public were fully aware of.

His name will now be the only one to go forward to a final selection meeting.

The three other unsuccessful candidates were lawyer Farmida Bi, Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) staff member Nicholas Milton and teacher Christine Shawcroft.

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