Deselected MP defends sleaze comments

An MP who became the first member of the Labour Party to be deselected this Parliament has defended allegations she made in a Sunday newspaper concerning sleaze and bullying inside the party.

Jane Griffiths, MP for Reading East, was deselected last week after disagreements with local party members. She has claimed that she was the victim of a campaign of bullying against her, at Westminster and locally.

She told the Mail on Sunday over the weekend that the House of Commons was plagued with a culture of binge drinking and illicit sex.

Ms Griffiths, 49, has held outspoken views on a range of issues, from supporting the government’s military action in Iraq to calling for the legalisation of brothels. The MP, one of the original “Blair babes” of the 1997 election, recently described herself as “Labour through and through”.

She said she had been approached by both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party, but had rejected their proposals as her heart was with Labour.

Ms Griffiths accused two government minister of cheating on their wives and claimed that an unnamed MP tried to sexually assault her after a party six years ago. She told the newspaper that Labour MPs tended to have flings with other MPs and also claimed to have seen government ministers “falling down drunk”.

The Labour Party has refused to comment on Ms Griffiths’ claims. Reading Labour Party has called for a House of Commons investigation into the accusations.

The mother-of-two also made a series of allegations against Reading West MP Martin Salter and Watford MP Claire Ward, claims which have been strenuously denied by both MPs.

But Ms Griffiths told the BBC she had no regrets about her remarks to the Mail on Sunday.

She said: “It needs to be shown that there is bullying, that I have certainly been the victim of it, and that a number of others are, and it has got to be stopped.

“We could have the general election next year – let’s not have murk and sleaze and wrong doing.”

The Labour MP was called to meet the Labour Party Chief Whip on Monday to discuss her remarks

Ms Griffiths has been replaced as Labour candidate for Reading East by Tony Page, who reportedly has two convictions for gross indecency in public lavatories.

Rumours have been surfacing since Ms Griffiths’ deselection that Labour Party leaders are planning a series of “show trials” for its most disloyal MPs ahead of next year’s elections.

Last night 28 Labour MPs voted against plans to stop welfare payments to failed asylum seekers.