Labour suspends MPs to quell row over sleaze

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Indy Politics
Two Labour MPs were suspended from holding office yesterday by the party's ruling National Executive Committee.

Both Mohammad Sarwar, who is accused of trying to bribe an election rival, and Robert Wareing, who is accused of failing to declare an interest in a Serbian company, have denied the allegations against them.

Mr Sarwar was also suspended last night from the party whip in the House of Commons. Mr Wareing had the whip suspended last week.

Mr Sarwar's constituency party in Glasgow Govan will be suspended until October and will then be reopened with a greater number of branches than before.

Both cases have been referred to Sir Gordon Downey, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, for investigation.

Police are continuing to look into claims that Mr Sarwar paid pounds 5,000 to a rival candidate, Badar Islam, to "ease off" his election campaign.

Labour has been anxious to act quickly against MPs accused of "sleaze" because of the damage done to the past government when it failed to act on allegations against ministers.

Last night, Mr Sarwar issued a statement repeating his belief that the police would clear his name.

"I am obviously saddened by the National Executive decision that I should be suspended from holding office within the Labour Party," he said.

The chief executive of the Scottish National Party, which had the the second largest vote in Govan at the general election, repeated an earlier call for Mr Sarwar to resign and allow a by-election.

"Mr Sarwar should end this sorry saga now by resigning as the Govan MP. As much as any other constituency, Govan needs a full-time and fully functioning MP - a role which Mr Sarwar is unable to fulfil."