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Committee may examine MP's expulsion claims

Claims by a rebel Labour MP that he was threatened with expulsion over devolution could be investigated by Westminster's powerful Standards and Privileges Committee, it emerged last night.

As the row over allegations by Llew Smith exploded into an angry exchange of letters between William Hague and the Prime Minister, a member of the committee suggested that Mr Blair should look to his laurels. Peter Bottomley, a former Conservative minister, said that if Mr Smith complained to the committee as he had threatened to do, it should take the matter seriously.

Last night, Mr Smith said he was considering his next move, but confirmed he was considering a complaint to the Standards and Privileges Committee. He had spoken to the chief whip, Nick Brown, yesterday afternoon and had been told he would not be disciplined for speaking out against his party, he said. Fran Abrams