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Norwich MP's future to be looked at by Labour panel

PUBLISHED: 20:37 21 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:41 06 July 2010

Norwich North MP Ian Gibson has been referred to a Labour party panel for a judgment on whether he should be deselected as a Labour Party candidate.

Dr Gibson is under increasing pressure after it emerged that he had allowed his daughter Helen and her partner William Turner to live in his West London flat rent free.

Norwich North MP Ian Gibson has been referred to a Labour party panel for a judgment on whether he should be deselected as a Labour Party candidate.

Dr Gibson is under increasing pressure after it emerged that he had allowed his daughter Helen and her partner William Turner to live in his West London flat rent free.

A Labour Party spokesperson said today: “The general secretary of the Labour Party, Ray Collins, and the chief whip, Nick Brown MP, have today referred Ian Gibson to the special NEC endorsements panel for urgent consideration. The panel will report back as soon as possible with recommendations to the organisation committee of the NEC on whether to remove Ian Gibson's endorsement to stand for election as a Labour Party candidate."

Dr Gibson had already said he was thinking of quitting the Commons after being caught up in the expenses scandal. Dr Gibson was claiming for mortgage interest, tax and utility bills on the flat as his second home. At the time his daughter and her partner were living there full time and he was staying there three days a week on average.

Last year he sold the flat to the couple for £162,000 last year, an amount equal to the amount of the outstanding mortgage, but less than the £195,000 he paid for it 10 years ago and well below the market rate.

This week he published details of his additional costs allowances expenses on his website, but the details he published did not reveal that his daughter was living in his second home, or that he sold it to her.

The MP insisted he had not done anything wrong, but he planned to talk to his constituency party to gauge their view.

And he admitted he was considering throwing in the towel because of the feeding frenzy taking place over MPs' expenses.

“I have been thinking of standing down for some time, because of my age, but this has certainly brought it into focus,” he said. “It's a febrile atmosphere and I think it's a witch hunt. They are after everybody now.

“Everybody is pretty fed up with the whole thing. The whips have told me I haven't done anything wrong, but this is just a campaign to attack people.

“She did not contribute towards the mortgage and the utility bills and all that stuff,” he added. “I was living there at least three days a week.

“It was my second home and I claimed for living there. I bought all of the furniture out of my own pay. That didn't come from the taxpayer. I will be paying the capital gains tax on the property.”

The Telegraph, which has revealed details of many MPs' expenses, also suggests Dr Gibson's was overclaiming council tax payments for the London flat.

But the MP said that the amounts varied because he was in dispute with the local council over the banding of the property.

Dr Gibson's fellow Labour MP Charles Clarke, who represents Norwich South, said today: “The Daily Telegraph allegations do not sound to me like the Ian Gibson I know and I am going to talk to Ian Gibson about this before I make any judgements.

“I think he is entitled to put his side of the story and to be heard fairly.”

Chloe Smith, who will be trying to win Dr Gibson's Norwich North seat for the Conservatives when a general election is called, said: “Dr Gibson has absolutely got to justify what he has spent public money on. If these allegations are true people will be really upset. He has to come clean and let people know whether he is resigning or not. People have a right to know what is going on.”

Richard Bacon, Conservative MP for South Norfolk, said he did feel it would be appropriate to comment on anyone else's expenses, particularly when he had not had the chance to digest the full facts.

But he said: “I think many people regard Ian Gibson as a good local MP. He's a colleague at work whom you see a lot of and is always attending meetings about Norfolk and I think he works very hard for his constituency.”

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