Sarwar claims pounds 5,000 was a loan

The anger of Labour activists in Glasgow Govan started to boil over yesterday as their MP, Mohammad Sarwar, dug himself further into political controversy with an admission that he handed over pounds 5,000 to an election opponent.

Mr Sarwar spent the morning with his lawyer and a statement was issued in which he "vehemently denied" doing anything wrong. He intends pressing on with legal action against the News of the World for alleging that money was paid as a bribe.

The millionaire MP is said to have told Labour whips on Sunday about the payment to Badar Islam, but insisted that it was loan to a Punjabi brother in financial difficulty and not "compensation" to Mr Islam for running a low-key campaign.

On Monday, when he dismissed the newspaper charge as "totally false", he made no mention of the payment. The plot was further muddied yesterday with a report that it was in part a gift to Mr Islam for a tip-off about a plot to plant drugs in Mr Sarwar's cash and carry warehouse.

The first contact between the Mr Sarwar and Mr Islam, who polled 319 votes under his Independent Labour badge, was not until 11 May and therefore could not have influenced the poll, according to party officials.

Following a call by Donald Dewar, Secretary of Sate for Scotland, the Strathclyde Fraud Squad added the bribery claim an investigation into late applications to the Govan electoral roll and allegations of malpractice by Sarwar supporters.

Today Nick Brown, the government Chief Whip, will report to Labour's National Executive on the affair, including his questioning of Mr Sarwar. Labour is conducting further inquiries but is unlikely to take any decision on the MP's fate until the police work is over. Mr Sarwar returned to London late yesterday.

While the circumstances surrounding the election of Britain's first Muslim MP are an embarrassment to Tony Blair and the London leadership, the effect on the febrile Govan constituency party could be catastrophic. For some local activists, Mr Sarwar's resignation and a by-election would be a relief, were it not for the fact that the SNP could win the seat.

"People in Govan Labour Party feel angry and let down," a party source told The Independent. After being split down the middle over the selection battle between Mr Sarwar and former MP Mike Watson, it was pulled together in the run-up to the election, largely by Margaret Curran who buried differences to become Mr Sarwar's agent.

"Margaret knocked heads together and ran a professional campaign. We won Govan despite the history of the selection row, allegations about the roll and a strong SNP challenge. Now all that has been lost and discredited," said the source.

Mr Islam, meanwhile, remained elusive. On top of the pounds 5,000 the entertainments promoter and gambler got from Mr Sarwar, he is also said to have collected a large sum from a tabloid newspaper.

The News of the World was yesterday sticking to its story and ready to defend itself in court. It claimed to have "further information" but would not comment on a suggestion that it has a tape of the Sarwar-Islam meeting requiring translation.

A job to humour Labour backbenchers

Labour MPs last night elected a former front-bench spokesman on home affairs, housing and Northern Ireland to the somewhat daunting task of keeping more than 300 government back-benchers happy and contented, writes Fran Abrams.

Clive Soley, the member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush, will be the new chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, a job which now carries more importance than at any time in history.

Mr Soley was elected to the post by 229 votes, while his only challenger, Roger Stott, received 93 votes.

Mr Stott, the member for Wigan and also a former Northern Ireland spokesman, had stood on an apparently anti-leadership platform.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile App/IOS Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Mobile App/IOS...

Front End Developer-JavaScript, Angular J.S, HTML, CSS, ASP.NET

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front End Deve...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil