Labour `court' to try Graham

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The Independent Online
TOMMY GRAHAM, Labour MP for Renfrewshire who is at the heart of allegations of dirty politics in Scotland,will appear before a quasi- judicial Labour court tomorrow accused of acting in a way "grossly detrimental" to the party.

The charge sheet has never been disclosed, but the allegations - all strongly denied - include trying to rig party elections, offering "sexually compromising" pictures of a leading trade union official, and bad-mouthing Labour MPs.

Although Mr Graham protests his innocence, Labour officials in Glasgow and London believe the National Constitutional Committee panel will order his expulsion.

They are anxious to avoid a court challenge and any repeat of the embarrassing attempt to ditch Pat Lally, the Glasgow Lord Provost. Mr Graham will be assisted at the two-day hearing by top barrister Peter Carter-Ruck.

The MP's party membership was suspended last August, three weeks after the suicide of his political neighbour, Gordon McMaster, who hinted in a suicide note that Mr Graham was behind a smear campaign that he was homosexual.

Party investigators acquitted Mr Graham of contributing to his colleague's death, but then cited other charges. Labour's Scottish headquarters will say only that Mr Graham had broken a rule that no member shall "engage in a sustained course of conduct prejudicial to, or in any act grossly detrimental to, the party."

Mr Graham told The Independent: "I've been 33 years in the Labour Party and I have never broken any rules or codes of conduct, or anything. These charges don't pose any threat to me."

The MP said he had been "lambasted from pillar to post" for the last 12 months. Life had been "made hell" for his wife Joan and their family.