Police in Australia have been asked to investigate payments to prostitutes made by Labour MP Craig Thomson in a scandal that is threatening to bring down the government.
Now that his former employer, the Health Services Union, has gone to the police the likelihood of a criminal investigation has increased significantly.
The questions date back six years and centre on Thomson’s use of a company credit card when he was the head of the union, specifically a payment of 1,800 euros to a brothel in Sydney.
Thomson has denied any wrongdoing, and Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, has publicly defended him.
However, should he be convicted of a criminal offence he would have to leave parliament, thus wiping out Gillard’s slim majority.
Thomson has already stood down as chairman of parliament’s economics committee as the scandal has dominated political debate in Australia.