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Scottish MP 'devastated' by deselection over expenses

Jim Devine last night became the latest victim of the MPs� expenses scandal after Labour�s ruling body unanimously decided he should be deselected following queries over his claims.

Jim Devine last night became the latest victim of the MPs' expenses scandal after Labour's ruling body unanimously decided he should be deselected following queries over his claims.

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The development came as the office of Speaker Michael Martin confirmed that details of all MPs' expenses would be released officially tomorrow on the UK Parliament's website.

Mr Devine, who represents Livingston, now faces the end of his political career. He told The Herald: "I'm absolutely devastated. I've been hung out to dry." He confirmed there was no means of appeal.

The 56-year-old politician came under scrutiny after the Sunday Herald revealed that he had billed the taxpayer £2157 for rewiring at his London flat but, it was alleged, the invoice had an invalid VAT number and a false address.

The MP, who denied any wrongdoing, said the electrician he employed must have been trying to avoid paying tax but insisted he told the Commons fees office about the false VAT number as soon as he found out about it.

Questions were also raised about his claim of £2326 for having shelves put up at his office by Tony Moran, who is a local pub owner and friend.

Last week, Mr Devine received the backing of his local party after being cross-examined by 40 members. However, senior party officials in Scotland referred him to Labour's special National Executive Committee endorsements panel.

On Monday, he appeared for 90 minutes before the three-person "star chamber" at the party's London HQ. Its recommendation was then considered by the NEC's organisation committee.

Last night, the party issued a statement, saying: "After considering in detail the case of Jim Devine and speaking to him, the Labour Party's special NEC endorsements panel today unanimously recommended rescinding his endorsement as a Labour candidate.

It went on: "He will not be able to stand as a Labour candidate in any constituency at the next General Election."

Mr Devine becomes the fifth Labour MP to fall foul of the expenses scandal after Margaret Moran, Ian Gibson, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor.

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