Politics: Labour MP named in suicide note angers party by breaking silence before inquiry

A suspended Labour MP yesterday spoke for the first time of his `eight weeks of hell' since being named in a suicide note by a fellow Labour backbencher. But Colin Brown thinks Tommy Graham may have only succeeded in making his position worse.
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The Independent Online
Tommy Graham, the Labour MP suspended for allegedly smearing a colleague who committed suicide, yesterday declared he would clear his name.

Mr Graham, who is still suspended from the party at Westminster, pending the outcome of an inquiry, described how he had suffered after being accused of being behind a smear campaign in the suicide note left by Gordon McMaster, the Labour MP for Paisley South.

But Graham's attempt to cast himself as one of the victims of the tragedy threatened to backfire with the party in Scotland, which is still facing demands for a more far-reaching inquiry into alleged efforts to destabilise Mr McMaster before he committed suicide. Party sources said Graham had been "unwise" to speak out before the inquiry was over.

"People were trying to destabilise my position, were bad-mouthing me," Mr Graham said.

"It has been eight weeks of hell for me, my wife Joan and the boys Thomas and John."

Mr Graham had hoped he would be cleared before the party conference in a fortnight and had been keeping silent until after the Scottish referendum. But Scottish Labour Party sources were displeased at the latest move by Mr Graham.

"I know my enemies and he wasn't one of them. I had a fabulous relationship with him," Mr Graham said about Mr McMaster.

He was "stunned and shocked" at having been named in Mr McMaster's suicide note, together with Lord Dixon, a former deputy chief whip. "I have always seen myself as a friend of Gordon and there was nobody more stunned and shocked on hearing about his death than I, and my family.

"We genuinely feel for his family. I know that if Gordon and I had had an opportunity to speak I am sure we would have resolved our difficulties."

Asked if he believed the inquiry's outcome would spell the end of his political career, Mr Graham said on BBC Radio Scotland: "I have absolutely no doubt that I will clear my name. And I am quite positive it is not the end of my political career."