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Labour mired in sleaze claims as Scots leader quits and MPs are accused of homes tax-dodge .........

 
added 29/6/08
 

By Simon Walters and Glen Owen
29th June 2008
Daily Mail

Labour sleaze came back to haunt Gordon Brown today as the Prime Minister suffered a triple blow to his hopes of political survival.

The Government faced the nightmare prospect of another by-election humiliation as it was rocked by three damaging new setbacks:

The resignation of Scottish Labour Party leader Wendy Alexander, sister of Mr Brown's Cabinet ally Douglas Alexander, for failing to declare donations to her leadership campaign.

The resignation of Glasgow East Labour MP David Marshall triggering the potentially embarrassing by-election amid allegations that he wrongly used his Commons expenses to pay members of his family.

Claims by a Labour politician that more than 100 MPs are using their Commons second-home allowance to dodge capital gains tax.

The downfall of Ms Alexander is a personal blow for Mr Brown. Along with her brother, the International Development Secretary, she was a key player in the Scottish political 'mafia' who helped Mr Brown plot his way to becoming Prime Minister.

Ms Alexander's resignation, which will trigger the second Scottish leadership change within a year, followed a ruling by the Scottish Parliament's Standards Committee that she should be suspended from Holyrood for one day when the next session starts in September.

The committee ruled she had broken the law by not registering donations during her campaign to replace Jack McConnell as First Minister last summer. Donations above 520 must be registered as gifts within 30 days, which Ms Alexander failed to do.

Mr Brown praised Ms Alexander's 'oustanding' contribution to Labour, and in a letter to her said: 'I understand you do not want to see the work of the party overshadowed and attention diverted because of the decisions of one committee of the Scottish Parliament.'

While her resignation was damaging to Mr Brown, it did not come as a complete surprise. However, the by-election triggered by the shock resignation of David Marshall could cause the Prime Minister much more difficulty.

Friends of Mr Marshall said he was stepping down because of health problems. But Labour figures said privately that the decision was prompted by Mr Marshall's alarm that he was about to become embroiled in allegations about payments to members of his family from his Commons expenses.

The rest of the article may be read here: Daily Mail