The government yesterday stood by the prime minister’s decision to controversially fire one of his New Democracy party’s MPs over comments the deputy made about corruption within the government, despite opposition politicians saying the statement had been harmless. Costas Karamanlis sacked Evangelos Polyzos, a deputy for Pieria, on Wednesday night after the MP said that he believed there were corrupt politicians within his own party, just as in other parties. In what many are seeing as a show of strength as the new political term begins, the premier approved the dismissal of Polyzos from ND’s parliamentary group. The MP will now serve as an independent deputy. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that Polyzos’s comments had been «groundless» and unbefitting of a member of New Democracy. He failed to rule out, however, the possibility that the MP would be allowed to return to the fold in the future. The prime minister’s decision drew criticism from opposition parties and PASOK leader George Papandreou called it a «panicky move.» «It does not confront corruption but merely stops you from talking about it,» said Papandreou.