Two Labour MPs stand down over expenses claims

May 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

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Labour MPs Ian Gibson and Ben Chapman have both announced they are to stand down at the next election.

Both men had been targeted by a Daily Telegraph investigation into MPs’ expense claims.

Dr Gibson made his announcement ahead of a story about his claims in tomorrow’s paper.

Earlier this week the Telegraph reported that “between December 2002 and October 2003, Mr Chapman claimed about £15,000 in interest charges for a part of the mortgage on his second home that he had already repaid.”

Mr Chapman’s claim that Commons officials in the Fees Office gave him permission to claim the money will be investigated by the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Labour has announced a “tough new disciplinary process that can bar MPs found to have flouted the rules from standing as candidates at the next election.”

Mr Chapman said today:

“I maintain that I have done nothing wrong and have acted in good faith and with absolute transparency throughout.

“But the publicity in the Daily Telegraph, and subsequently elsewhere, has been hurtful to my family, friends and local party members and supporters, and I have therefore decided to stand down at the next general election.”

When approached by the paper about expenses claim for his London flat, Dr Gibson, who has been an MP since 1997, said he would not seek re-election.

Labour MPs, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor, have had the whip withdrawn and one minister, Shahid Malik, has resigned ahead of an investigation into whether he broke the ministerial code.

Three Tory MPs, Douglas Hogg, Anthony Steen and Sir Peter Viggers, have announced they will not be standing at the next election after their claims were made public.

Tory leader David Cameron has banned Conservative MPs from claiming for furniture, other household goods and food shopping and set up a Scrutiny Panel to review “all excessive claims and arrange repayments where appropriate.”

Over the past two weeks the Telegraph has published details of the expense claims of more than 100 MPs of all parties.

Yesterday Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons, announced that a new independent body would be set up to police MPs’ and peers’ expenses.

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