Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 20:33 UK

Expenses row MP dropped by Labour

Jim Devine
Jim Devine said he had no knowledge of any irregularities

Jim Devine has become the fifth Labour MP to be barred from standing at the next election over his expenses claims.

Labour's National Executive Committee dropped the MP for Livingston after reports he claimed for work on his home from a non-existent firm.

Mr Devine has denied any wrongdoing and has asked the police to investigate.

The move comes as Parliament said it would publish the details of all MPs' expenses, the subject of a recent Daily Telegraph investigation, on Thursday.

'Highest standards'

Parliament had been due to publish the expenses claims of all 646 MPs dating back to 2004 in July.

However, this all changed when the Daily Telegraph started publishing details of claims by individual MPs in early May.

The paper's expose has led to nearly a dozen MPs announcing plans to step down, more than £300,000 in money repaid, and calls from across the political spectrum for root and branch reform of Parliament.

The Telegraph said its disclosures were in the public interest as key information showing how some MPs had maximised their allowances by changing the designation of their main and second homes - a process known as "flipping" - would have been excluded from the official release.

Mr Devine's fate was decided by the NEC's Special Endorsements Panel - dubbed the Star Chamber - which has been scrutinising all claims considered questionable.

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

A Labour Party spokesman said the decision to prevent Mr Devine - reported to have submitted receipts for £2,000 in electrical work from a firm which did not exist - from standing again had been unanimous.

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

Mr Devine, who succeeded Robin Cook as MP for Livingston in 2005, could still stand as an independent.

However, none of the other four de-selected Labour MPs - Eliot Morley, Margaret Moran, David Chaytor and Ian Gibson - have said they will still contest their seat, in any form, at the next election.

Mr Gibson resigned with immediate effect earlier this month, triggering a likely by-election in his Norwich North constituency later this year.

Mr Devine's de-selection came on the day that the Committee on Standards in Public Life began its investigation into MPs expenses and pay, hearing evidence from Deputy Leader Harriet Harman among others.



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