Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 21:43 UK

Gibson barred from standing again

Ian Gibson
Mr Gibson was said to be "very upset"

Labour backbencher Ian Gibson has been barred from standing for the party at the next general election, following questions about his expenses.

The Norwich North MP is said to be "very upset" at the news, which follows an appearance before a disciplinary panel set up by Labour's ruling body.

He reportedly claimed for a flat in which his daughter lived rent-free.

MPs Margaret Moran, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor - who already said they would not stand - were also banned.

But they have not been expelled from the party or had the whip removed.

As both Gordon Brown and the National Executive Committee have made clear, the Labour Party demands the very highest standard of its MPs
Labour Party spokesman

An internal Labour party panel - dubbed the star chamber - had been considering five MPs' cases, following allegations over their expenses claims.

It has yet to rule on backbencher Jim Devine.

A Labour Party spokesman said the panel had "unanimously recommended rescinding each of their endorsement as Labour candidates".

He said new prospective parliamentary candidates would be selected for their constituencies in Bury, Norwich, Scunthorpe and Luton.


He added: "As both Gordon Brown and the National Executive Committee have made clear, the Labour Party demands the very highest standard of its MPs.

"The special NEC endorsements panel will continue to consider cases referred to it by the chief whip or the Labour Party's general secretary."

Mr Gibson was the only MP to face the panel as the other three had already decided to stand down.

I think it was a kangaroo court
Martin Booth
Constituency chairman

It is understood he was before the panel for 25 minutes on Tuesday.

Mr Gibson's case revolved around a west London flat he designated as his second home, on which he reportedly claimed expenses for mortgage interest and bills totally nearly £80,000.

He went on to sell it at well below the market rate to his daughter and her partner in April.

Mr Gibson had said the flat was his second home but had confirmed his daughter and her partner were living there rent-free at the time and "took over the mortgage" after he moved out.

He said at the time he would step down if his constituents wanted him to.

On Tuesday his constituency chairman, Martin Booth, told the BBC he was "horrified" that Mr Gibson had been barred as he felt his case was very different to the other three.

'Sloppy accounting'

"I don't think this was a star chamber, I think it was a kangaroo court, I think they decided they had to make examples of people," he told the BBC.

"Why pick one man out who has done no more than anyone else and a lot less than many of the others? That's where I'm upset."

He said Gordon Brown was "trying to look tough" adding: "It is just outrageous that they have picked on Ian."

Mr Gibson may have been singled out as he was a "maverick" who had voted against the government on occasion and had received a lot of support in his constituency.

"He didn't stand down because he did not think he had done anything to stand down for," he added.

He said the allegations against Mr Gibson were not true, although his daughter had lived at the flat, he spent four nights a week there and had put a lot of his own money into the flat.

David Chaytor, who was suspended by the Parliamentary Labour Party pending an investigation into his claims, had announced earlier he would be standing down.

He reportedly claimed nearly £13,000 for a mortgage that had already been paid off. He had apologised for "an unforgivable error in accounting procedures" and pledged to repay the money.

Elliot Morley, a former minister, was accused of claiming £16,000 for a mortgage that had been paid off - he also blamed "sloppy accounting", apologised and repaid the money.

He announced on Friday that he would be standing down at the next general election.

Margaret Moran's reported £22,500 claim for dry rot at her Southampton home - 100 miles from her Luton constituency - had been widely criticised and prompted TV presenter Esther Rantzen to consider running against her.

She maintained she had done "nothing wrong or dishonest" but said she understood people's anger and had decided to step down.

Meanwhile it has emerged that Jacqui Smith is to step down as home secretary after the row over her expenses.

Tom Watson is expected to step down as Cabinet Office Minister and Patricia Hewitt and Beverly Hughes are to step down as MPs at the next election, although they say it is for personal reasons, not over the expenses row.

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