'Old farts' for Nolan watchdog

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Indy Politics
A Labour MP last night lifted his block on the establishment of the Commons committee to implement the Nolan proposals for tougher rules on MPs earnings - but only after labelling party colleagues picked to serve as "boring old farts", writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

Brian Sedgemore (Hackney South & Shoreditch) agreed not to press an amendment that would have replaced Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith, a senior Tory backbencher, with Dale Campbell-Savours, Labour MP for Workington and a prominent campaigner to clean up the Commons.

His protest followed a row within Labour circles over the party's choice of four "establishment" figures of its own - John Evans, MP for St Helens, John Morris QC, shadow Attorney General, Stan Orme, a Privy Councillor, and Ann Taylor, shadow Leader of the Commons - at a private meeting between Tony Blair, the party leader, John Prescott, his deputy, Derek Foster, the chief whip, and Doug Hoyle, parliamentary party chairman.

Mr Sedgemore said last night: "Most of the people I have spoken to agree that it is not right to have four boring old farts on the committee. There are plenty of newcomers who could breathe some life into this."

Labour sources have indicated that Mr Campbell-Savours' inclusion on the committee was blocked because of - among other reasons - his unwillingness to "do deals" with Tories on the committee.

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