Civil servant fired for Kirkbride attack

By staff

A civil servant who campaigned against a Tory MP facing an expenses controversy has been sacked for political activities.

Mark France was a high-profile figure in the campaign against Tory MP Julie Kirkbride, who announced she would stand down at the next election.

The Department for Work and Pensions said Mr France failed to meet the terms of his probation period by discussing political matters on television and websites, collecting signatures and standing as an independent candidate at the local elections.

Mr France claimed he was unaware of the code.

“I certainly didn’t think that by speaking my mind in a democracy that it would lead me to lose my job,” he said.

“Everybody should be free to express their opinion. I think it’s an issue of human rights.”

Ms Kirkbride faced a concerted media campaign after it was revealed her brother lived rent free at her constituency home while her sister conducted secretarial work for her, despite living over a hundred miles from her constituency.

Her husband, fellow Tory MP Andrew Mackay, will also stand down at the election, after becoming one of the first victims of the expenses scandal.