A series of embarrassments for new labour

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The Independent Online
This week: Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott WAS embarrassed by allegations that his former parliamentary Private Secretary Alan Meale lobbied for a controversial planning application for a new pounds 14m Barnet FC football ground while at the Department of Environment,Transport and the Regions.

September 1998: Labour suspends Renfrewshire MP Tommy Graham from the party after he is found guilty of misbehaviour `grossly detrimental' to the party over a five-year period including bad mouthing fellow MP Irene Adams, attempting to circulate compromising photographs of a gay trade union official and trying to rig party memberships.

July 1998: "Cash for Access" scandal erupts when lobbyist Derek Draper - former aide to Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson - confirmed that lobby firms had privileged access to the government. Draper allegedly boasted to an undercover reporter: "There are 17 people who count. And to say that I am intimate with every one of them is the understatement of the century." It led to his resignation as a director of the firm GPC Market Access.

December 1997: Parliamentary sleaze watchdog Sir Gordon Downey is formally asked to investigate the financial affairs of Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson by Shadow Chancellor Peter Lilley after months of embarrassment over his apparent failure to record his investment in an offshore trust in the MPs' Register of Interests.

December 1997: Britain's first Moslem MP, Mohammed Sarwar, Labour's MP for Glasgow Govan, was charged with election fraud after his suspension from the party in June. He faces three sets of charges including one of attempting to bribe a political rival.

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