Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 13:49 UK

Devine could trigger by-election

Jim Devine
Jim Devine said he had been "hung out to dry"

Labour MP Jim Devine has warned he may force a by-election in his Livingston constituency after being deselected by the party over his expenses claims.

He maintained he had done nothing wrong and claimed he had been "hung out to dry" after an internal investigation.

Mr Devine said he was also considering staying on until the next election and then standing as an independent.

He was deselected over claims of about £4,500 for rewiring and joinery work at his flat.

The MP was alleged to have submitted receipts for £2,157 of electrical work from a company that does not exist.

It is, in truth, an ignoble ending to a relatively brief parliamentary career
Brian Taylor
BBC Scotland political editor

He maintained the electrician he employed provided false information.

Mr Devine, 56, said the man must have been trying to avoid paying tax by providing a false VAT number, and he had notified the Commons fees office when he found out about it.

Questions were also raised about 66 metres of office shelving, said to have been provided by the landlord of his local pub, for which he charged the taxpayer £2,326.

Mr Devine's constituents in West Lothian had mixed views about his position

His explanations did not convince Labour's special endorsement's panel, which decided unanimously that his career should be brought to an end.

He was elected MP for Livingston in September 2005 following the death of Robin Cook.

Mr Devine had previously been Mr Cook's election agent, and had worked as head of health for the Scottish branch of the public sector union Unison.

He is the fifth Labour MP to be deselected.

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