The Piraeus MP who declared himself an independent deputy on Monday after graft allegations against him was thrown out of New Democracy yesterday as talk from government and opposition politicians about curbing the power of the media gathered pace. The secretary of the ruling conservatives, Vangelis Meimarakis, yesterday stripped Petros Mandouvalos of his party membership after the now-independent MP decided to announce his resignation on television before informing the prime minister or his superiors within New Democracy. Mandouvalos refused to give up his seat altogether, claiming he was the target of «organized interests.» He stepped down as a conservative deputy after reports alleged an associate of his made a payment to a judge being investigated for corruption. The development has brought the role of the media in uncovering alleged scandals into focus, with many politicians voicing fears that the situation is getting out of control. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said an effort was being made to «flatten» the government and that it would resist attempts to tarnish its work. «The circumstances for corruption are not being created, impressions are being created. Each case has to be judged separately,» he said. PASOK leader George Papandreou reiterated his eight-point plan to tackle corruption, which includes the creation of an independent committee to investigate claims. He suggested that former president Costis Stephanopoulos should head the panel.