Queensland’s premier says his former police minister is a “very damaged individual” who should be considering taking more leave.

Queensland’s premier has described his former police minister as “very fragile” after he used parliamentary privilege to allege a police officer made death threats.

Gympie MP David Gibson told parliament on Thursday night Llew O’Brien, a police officer and former Liberal National Party member, had made politically menacing threats.

The assertions come two months after a friend of Mr O’Brien leaked details of Mr Gibson’s past, causing him to suffer a nervous breakdown and decide to retire at the next election.

“These threats included him stating that I should not question his loyalty as he had ‘delivered death threats on behalf of the party’,” Mr Gibson added.

Campaigning for the upcoming Stafford by-election, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said Mr Gibson was “clearly a very damaged individual”.

“I saw a very, very fragile individual and clearly those members of parliament who were in there were very upset for him,” he told reporters, adding he should consider taking extended leave.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey confirmed the police ethical standards branch was investigating his assertions.

“I listened to Mr Gibson’s speech yesterday evening and those matters are operational matters,” he told reporters.

The accused officer, Mr O’Brien, was a friend of political rival Scott Elms, who in April published details about Mr Gibson’s past.

Mr Gibson admits he made mistakes and faced unspecified charges in 1999, but no conviction was recorded against him.

However, the revelation caused distress to him and his family, leading to Mr Gibson taking leave from parliament to deal with depression and anxiety issues.

He told parliament he had never been friends with Mr Elms, who is being investigated by parliament’s ethics committee.

The MP resigned as police minister in April 2012 after serving less than two weeks in the role, when it emerged he had been caught drink-driving on a suspended licence.

He announced in May his intention to retire from politics at the next election.