50 Labour MPs will quit over expenses, claims union leader

At least 50 Labour MPs will be forced to quit at the next election over the Commons expenses scandal, a senior trade union leader predicted yesterday.

Paul Kenny, the general secretary of the GMB union – one of Labour's biggest financial backers – spoke out as a party "star chamber" began examining the allegations against four backbenchers.

Mr Kenny, whose union has two seats on Labour's ruling National Executive Committee, warned that Cabinet ministers should not be spared from possible action by the party. "You can't have one rule for backbenchers and another for people who are the political elite of government," he told the BBC.

"Where people have used the system to profit themselves, whether that be through excessive claims for personal items or through making vast amounts through 'flipping' their second and third homes, it is pretty clear that all of those people are going to have to be subject to intense scrutiny by the Labour Party."

Mr Kenny said he expected significant numbers of MPs from both main parties would have to stand down by the time of the next General Election.

"If that that is less than 20 per cent of the current number of MPs I will be quite shocked," he said.

"It will be well in excess of a hundred, I would have said. I think at least 50 from the two major parties and there will be a sprinkling of others."

Labour sources were privately dismissive of his claims. The Labour disciplinary panel, which contains three NEC members, is expected to deliberate into next month.

Yesterday it began considering the cases of three backbenchers – Margaret Moran, Elliot Morley and Ian Gibson. The case of a fourth Labour MP, David Chaytor, will be heard at a later date.

The party did not say whether any of the MPs concerned attended the hearings – Ms Moran earlier said she was staying away on grounds of ill- health.

A spokesman said: "The panel is currently in the process of gathering evidence from all parties concerned in these cases and the Labour Party will make a further announcement when it has come to its conclusions.

"All members of the panel agreed on the need for rapid and urgent action to reassure the public and Labour Party members, but the panel is also clear that all its investigations must be conducted in a fair and equitable manner in accordance with Labour Party rules."

Gordon Brown said last night: "We are going to clean up the political system. We are never again going to have a situation where MPs are put in this position, where they sign their own expenses and have to do it all on their own and getting into mistakes which then have to be corrected.

He added: "Any MPs that misbehave will be dealt with. Any MP who has to be disciplined as a result of what they have done will be disciplined.

"Any MP that cannot stand at the next election because of what they have done, we will take the action that is necessary."

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, said the mood in Cabinet was "very serious... recognising the concerns of the public" about expenses.

But ministers were also "determined to ensure that we back the Prime Minister in the action he proposes" against Labour MPs who broke the rules and cross-party efforts to reform the system.

He said: "I don't think there is a single member of the House of Commons that has not been shocked and saddened by what happened."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'