Friday, June 05, 2009

Ian Gibson Forces Norwich North By Election

I cut my political teeth in Norwich North. I know the seat like the back of my hand. I also know Ian Gibson. His decision to stand down as an MP is an honourable one and I have no hesitation in publishing the full text of the statement he has just released. It begs some questions, not least, will he stand as an Independent candidate in the by election? UPDATE: No he won't. Chloe Smith is the Tory PPC there and is absolutely excellent. She will no doubt have received the shock of her life this afternoon. Cometh the hour. Cometh the woman.

Following Tuesday's meeting with the panel set up by the National Executive Committee of The Labour Party, and the upholding of their recommendations by the Organisation Committee, I wish to make the following statement:

“Although I was told it was not to be a disciplinary hearing, it turned out to be so. I was allowed to bring one 'silent friend' with me and Martin Booth, President of Norwich Constituency Labour Party, offered to accompany me. He has commented elsewhere that their final decision was a fait accompli and I have to agree. I felt the panel had made their mind up prior to the interview and the considerable local and national support from constituents and non-constituents, although available, was not examined. A document produced by the CLP was presented but there were no questions addressed to it. Nor were any questions asked about my personal statement which I had also submitted.

The panel asked me if I felt my actions contravened the 2009 Code of Conduct clause in The Green Book, which states that claims should not give rise to “improper personal financial benefits to themselves or anyone else”. This clause did not feature in Codes of Conduct in Green Books prior to 2009, when my daughter and her partner were living with me and when I sold my property to them, and even if it had I do not believe that there was anything improper about my actions. It still remains unclear which rule I have broken and I have not received the verdict in writing yet. I asked them to draw a line in the sand and to think carefully before taking a position on the family life of MPs, and the ways in which Parliamentary life intrudes upon family life. I was really pleased to be able to share my flat with my daughter and her partner.

The issue of my selling-on my second home below the market price begs the question why did I not sell it on the open market and make a profit? Some MPs did and, no doubt, gave or shared the proceeds with their family members. In my case I was not motivated by making a profit. I received the equivalent of the mortgage loan for the flat, namely £162,000 which was due to be repaid in November 2009. I will be required to repay an additional loan incurred by having to re-mortgage my first home in Norwich in order to buy the flat for £195,000 in 1999.

It was, and will be, my personal money and not the taxpayers which will be used to pay-off the re-mortgage. This helped to reduce the mortgage interest payments made by the taxpayer for my second home. I will, of course, be paying Capital Gains Tax on the sale of my second home, the exact amount of which will be determined in consultation with my accountant when preparing my 2008-09 tax return later this year.

I did not cover up, as implied by The Daily Telegraph, that my daughter and her partner shared my second home. Their names appeared on the electoral register. The address was only removed from my published receipts to meet the requirements of the House Authorities who were redacting, ie blanking out, members and staff addresses, telephone numbers and bank account details to comply with the Data Protection Act. Unredacted material was, of course, sold to The Daily Telegraph.

It has been my great honour to have served the people of Norwich North as their MP since 1997. I am proud to have voted with the Government on the introduction of Tax Credits, Pension Credits and the Minimum Wage etc., but equally proud to have voted against invading Iraq, ID Cards, renewing Trident missiles and the charging of University Top-Up Fees.

I wish to publicly thank the hundreds of people who sent me messages of support. The decision of the NEC leaves me today bowed but not broken. However, I believe that my position as an MP between now and the next election is untenable. And after discussions with my family, colleagues, party members and my admirable staff, I have decided to tender my resignation as an MP with immediate effect and I expect it to be accepted.”

26 comments:

Sunil Prasannan said...

Beckett resigns from the Govt. too!

Siberian Tory said...

Iain. Is this a winnable seat?

Ivor Biggun said...

Apparently not going to stand as an indy. How about you going for the pink vote Iain? It would stroke your vanity :-)

Anonymous said...

Gibson's a good man, he's been a tremendous constituency MP. He's the only reason Norwich North is a Labour seat. If he's not going to stand as an independent, grab any odds you can get on a Conservative win in the by election.

Siberian Tory said...

Apparently it is very winnable based on the stats; but it always depends on the local lay of the land.

Norfolk Blogger said...

This is a seat I would have predicted two weeks ago would have been a safe Labour hold, with Gobson, but without, it could provide a surprise (from a resident of Norwich North).

Half The Story said...

So he sells it cut price rather than do a Hoon/Blears/Purnell to make a profit and he gets sanctioned.

Also, how can you break rules that do not exist?

Brown and his mob are seriously cluless.

javelin said...

I know Ian as well he helped the Muscular Dystrophy Group initiate some funding. A great guy. Even if he's Labour. He was stiched up by Brown.

Siberian Tory said...

Oooh This could be fun. I think my local party agent may be on the phone to bus us down to Norwich. Good, if the weathers nice I could do with a holiday.

Andy JS said...

Strange to have a Tory candidate a couple of years younger than me. Best of luck to Chloe Smith.

Siberian Tory said...

Incidentally, Gibson was stitched up by Brown and his nasty clique in downing street.

You get the feeling Cameron will have to have the place fumeagated when he moves in.

dodrade said...

Is this a last dig by Gibson at Brown for (in his opinion) being hung out to dry?

Tory Bear said...

Live chat over at TB for the Brown press conference.

VotR said...

Bloody hell, Iain, it's getting harder to keep up. Whatever next?

Things seemed timetabled and staged. I think the PM will be praying for his own resignation soon rather than anymore humiliation for the history books.

I'm beginning to suspect his party won't even let him have that small mercy once he does decide to put his affairs in order. Oh well, there's always Mandy, Brown. Go and have a pint, once Parliament is, rather forcibly, dissolved.

Andrew said...

Doesn't Brown's National Democratic Renewal Council sound a little bit Stalinist?

And why are they railroading through legislation on MPs' expenses when we are supposed to be waiting for the Kelly report?

And I know this might be a bit nerdy, but what does the appointment of an independent regulator for MPs, who can presumably order them around, say about the supremacy of Parliament? He will be the most powerful official in the country, since he will be doing the electorate's job for them. Yet another shift from conscience to compliance.

Roger Thornhill said...

Listening to the conduct of the Kangaroo Court and we let them run the Home Office?

There is one thing the Left love doing more than screwing over the people - that is screwing over each other in such courts. They love it. It is Trot-pr0n.

Tim said...

I fought Norwich North in both the 1974 elections for the Conservatives, it looks like its coming home! Also why is Brown promoting the disgraced and unelected shirt lifter once again?
Norfolk Man

JoeF said...

Iain knows Norwich North very well, of course, having been at UEA when we won it (and South!) in 83- I was there too

He then worked for the MP for a while, etc

So Iain, you helping with planning the attack?

dearieme said...

By selling it at a low price he reduces any Capital Gains Tax he'll have to pay, and the daughter will have none to pay when she sells because it will have been her Principal Residence. Further, Gibson is getting on a bit and has a poor health record, so there is also probably an attempt to reduce future Inheritance Tax liability. Jolly clever, but it's odd that it's reckoned a sackable offence when Jack Straw's lying about his Council Tax isn't.

Tom Lines said...

You may have missed the fact that the Green Party has just won seven out of 13 county council seats in Norwich. Two of those seven are in the Norwich North constituency, in the city parts of which the Tories won one seat (with less than 30 per cent of the votes) and Labour one. The Green Party also forms the official opposition to the Lib Dems on the City Council, so do not imagine the by-election will be a shoe-in for the Tories.

Tom Lines said...

Correction: Labour is the minority ruling group on Norwich City Council with 15 councillors, followed by Green (13), Lib Dem (6) and Con (5).

Greggles said...

I'm a UEA student, and the lay of the land (as far as I've been able to make out), is that most Gibson's considerable student support will go to either the Lib Dems or the Greens - most were supporting Gibson in this case, not Labour.

Given this, and the current Conservative momentum, I see very little reason to bet against Ms. Smith in Norwich North.

Does anyone have any idea when the election will be?

rob's uncle said...

It is odd that Gibson, an experienced MP,doesn't know that one 'resigns' not by resigning but by applying for the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, an 'office of profit under the crown', whose holder is ineligible for membership of parliament.

The position is currently vacant. The last Crown Steward and Bailiff was David Davis, who was released from the post by the Chancellor immediately after his appointment in order to contest the by-election he had triggered—he would have been ineligible to resume his seat whilst still holding his "office of profit".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiltern_Hundreds

Mirtha Tidville said...

who the hell votes for these greens...they are even bigger loonies than Broon

Greggles said...

Mirtha, I know it's crazy, but the Greens are the second biggest party on a NOC Norwich City Council.

Anonymous said...

I am worried that this is not getting the attention it deserves in the blizzard of resignations, sackings and knife wielding. The actions of the kangaroo court emphasise that the problem is much wider than just Mr Brown.