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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 09:03 GMT
Pressure builds on first minister
Fife constituency office
The row centres around Mr McLeish's Fife office
Pressure is mounting on Scotland's first minister to make a statement in the Scottish Parliament about the so-called office-gate row.

It follows an admission by the Labour Party that it mistakenly used Henry McLeish's constituency office address in election literature, which is in breach of Westminster rules.

On Monday it emerged that the address was also used on one of Mr McLeish's own campaign posters during the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Fife Constabulary opened their investigation into the affair after a formal complaint was lodged by a former detective in the Scottish Crime Squad.

Henry McLeish
Mr McLeish has denied any wrongdoing
It centred on allegations that Mr McLeish sublet part of his Westminster constituency office in Glenrothes, Fife, but continued to claim full expenses.

Last week the first minister admitted he made "an error" and agreed to pay back 9,000 to the Commons Fees office.

The latest row centres on the Labour Party's use of Mr McLeish's Westminster constituency office in Glenrothes during local government elections in 1994 and 1995.

Mr McLeish denied the allegations but the party admitted that it did give his office address as a contact point.

Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie accused the first minister of "hiding behind spin doctors and party colleagues".

Scottish National Party MSP Fiona Hyslop has called on the first minister to make a statement in parliament to clarify his position.

Fiona Hyslop
Fiona Hyslop: Demanded a parliamentary statement
She said: "This is yet another devastating blow to the credibility of Scotland's first minister.

"Henry McLeish categorically denied that he had ever used his constituency office for party political purposes, but Labour Party leaflets for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 1999 and local authority elections in 1994 blatantly contradict this.

"The first minister is guilty of breaching strict parliamentary rules, but, more importantly, his statements in the last few days are contradicting the facts before us.

"How on earth can the people of Scotland have trust in a man who continues to avoid parliamentary protocol and deny that he has done anything wrong on the record in the parliament to end further speculation?

"The SNP are demanding that Henry McLeish stands before the parliament and makes a full personal statement to clarify why he is denying breaching parliamentary rules when there is such strong evidence to the contrary."


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21 Oct 01 | Scotland
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