MP wins support over sex allegation

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL BROWN, the Tory whip who resigned from the Government at the weekend over newspaper allegations of a relationship with an under-age man, was given strong backing by his local party yesterday.

Brian Knight, chairman of the MP's Brigg and Cleethorpes constituency, said: 'He is a brilliant MP and his personal life is his own. There is 100 per cent support for Mr Brown in this matter. Everyone I have spoken to is full of praise for him. It is a tragedy he had to resign. He felt it was the only honourable thing to do.'

Mr Brown, 42, issued a statement saying that he planned to take legal action against the News of the World, which linked him with a 20-year- old student at the London School of Economics. 'This will require my personal and direct attention which I could not pursue as long as I remained a member of the Government,' he said.

The Ministry of Defence said last night that it was investigating allegations that a civil servant had compromised security by participating in an under-age homosexual affair with the same student.

An MoD spokesman confirmed only that Paul Martin was a middle- grade civil servant working in a department dealing with Nato and European Affairs. Mr Martin, 36, is also a Tory loyalist and has been a leader of Edinburgh city council. He has fought several general elections as a Tory candidate in seats around Edinburgh.

The spokesman denied that this conflicted with his duty as a civil servant to political impartiality. He added, however, that MoD management would be interviewing Mr Martin today to assess the way in which he has been conducting his personal life and whether he poses a security risk. Mr Martin allegedly detailed the internal layout of No 10 Downing Street - while he boasted of his friendship with John Major - to an undercover News of the World reporter.

There was no comment from Downing Street on the matter yesterday.

Mr Brown, a former parliamentary private secretary to Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, recently voted for the age of homosexual consent to be lowered to 16. This was defeated but MPs compromised on 18. The new age limit has not yet become law.