Page last updated at 19:12 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 20:12 UK

Apology to MP over 'insult row'

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The Labour MP has written to David Cameron, seeking an apology

A local Conservative Party association has apologised after its candidate for the next general election was accused of insulting the sitting Labour MP.

Writing on his blog, Richard Graham, Tory candidate for Gloucester, appeared to use a four-letter expletive about his opponent over the expenses row.

Local MP Parmjit Dhanda has written to David Cameron asking for an apology for such "disreputable behaviour".

The Tories said it had been a "genuine" but "unacceptable" typographical error.

In his article, Mr Graham called on "dodgy politicians" to be punished as part of a "clean-up" of Parliament in the wake of revelations about MPs' expenses in the Daily Telegraph.

'Innuendo claim'

He called on Mr Dhanda to publish his expenses in full, saying he "did not know if he employs family members, puts food or clothes on expenses or any of the other favourite tricks".

In a revised version of the article, he referred to conversations with constituents in recent days and said it was "reassuring" to meet people who "just want to see some honesty and hard work from their councillor".

Previously, however, the sentence had ended not with the word "councillor" but with a four letter obscenity.

Mr Dhanda said his expenses details had not been published by the Daily Telegraph and Mr Graham was guilty of casting aspersions and "innuendo without making any firm allegations".

In a letter to Mr Cameron, he wrote: "Whether or not this insult is directed at me, I am sure you will agree that it is wholly inappropriate for somebody seeking high office to be using this kind of language.

"I think you should send a clear message that this kind of behaviour won't be tolerated by immediately removing him as your prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC).

Tories 'very sorry'

"If a public servant wrote something similar on a website they would lose their job."

In a statement, the local Conservative Party association said it was "very sorry" for the incident.

"It was an honest mistake and a genuine error," a spokesman said. "It was unacceptable and we apologise to anyone who was offended".

Mr Dhanda lost his job as a minister in the communities department at a reshuffle in October.

He won the seat with a 4,271 majority at the 2005 election.



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