3 Aug 2010

Suspended MP Chris Carter engages lawyer

11:57 am on 3 August 2010

Suspended Labour MP Chris Carter has engaged a lawyer to represent him.

The Te Atatu MP is taking about two months leave from Parliament, and on Monday the Labour Party issued a statement saying he is unwell and is getting appropriate help.

Labour Party President Andrew Little told Morning Report he's been dealing with a lawyer who is now representing Mr Carter.

"The representation that's been made to me on Mr Carter's behalf is that he has sought some medical assistance, he has been diagnosed as suffering severe consequences of stress."

Andrew Little was not drawn on whether he believes Chris Carter should resign, saying the issue is in Mr Carter's hands.

Mr Carter was suspended from Labour's caucus on Thursday for circulating an anonymous letter detailing discontent with party leader Phil Goff and predicting a leadership challenge.

No immediate decision

The Labour Party will make no immediate decision on whether to kick Mr Carter out of the party but it is set to re-open nominations for his Te Atatu seat.

A decision on Mr Carter's party membership was to be made on Saturday by the party's ruling council.

Mr Little says that will no longer happen because Mr Carter's representatives have confirmed the MP is unwell and in no state to respond to complaints about his conduct.

However, Mr Little says, the council is likely to decide to re-open nominations for the Te Atatu seat Mr Carter has held since 1993.