Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Suicide Fears' as MPs Start to Crack under Pressure

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Suicide Fears' as MPs Start to Crack under Pressure

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor

A TORY MP today claimed that the expenses scandal was a "McCarthystyle witch-hunt" and warned she feared it would result in suicide.

Backbencher Nadine Dorries spoke out as MPs were set to come face-to-face with voters' anger over the expenses scandal and fresh revelations emerged that public money was used to buy homes for their children. Ms Dorries said that MPs were "beginning to crack" under the strain of waiting to see if they were identified in the affair.

"There's a serious concern that this has got to a point now which is almost unbearable for any human being to deal with," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

But Labour MP Stephen Pound today attacked Ms Dorries' remarks as "facile", pointing out that the victims of McCarthyite witch-hunts were innocent. "No MP is innocent. Even people who didn't claim are still complicit," he said.

Labour MP Ian Gibson signalled he would not stand at the next election after it emerged that he had used public money to pay for his daughter's London home -- before selling it to her at a knockdown price.

The Daily Telegraph today revealed how veteran Labour Leftwinger Mr Gibson claimed nearly [pounds sterling]80,000 over four years for mortgage interest and bills on a Baron's Court flat used as a main home by his daughter Helen.

Ms Gibson, a former civil servant, lived there with her boyfriend rent-free. He sold the property to his daughter last year for just [pounds sterling]162,000, about half the market value.

Mr Gibson said he would leave it to his local constituency party to determine his fate. "I'm quite happy to step down ... if the constituents find it one step too far," he said.

Tory MP Anne Main faced similar controversy. She bought a flat in her St Albans constituency and let her daughter, a company director, live there rent-free. The flat has cost the taxpayer more than [pounds sterling]40,000.

As politicians headed to their constituencies, many were braced for the backlash at public meetings. Hundreds of people were expected to grill senior Tory Andrew MacKay over his [pounds sterling]140,000 "misclaim" of taxpayers' cash. …

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