BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 2 November, 2001, 08:29 GMT
McLeish fails to quell expenses row
Question Time panel
Question Time was broadcast from Glasgow
Scotland's first minister has come under renewed pressure to reveal how much money he got from sub letting his constituency office.

Henry McLeish admitted he did not know exactly how much money was involved when quizzed on BBC One's Question Time.

But he stressed, on the Thursday night programme, that not a penny of it had gone into his own pocket.

The first minister faced a rough ride from guests and members of the studio audience, in Glasgow, as well as the show's host, David Dimbleby.

Office sign
The row centres around Mr McLeish's Fife office

Fellow guests included former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, Tory peer Lord Strathclyde and Scotsman editor Rebecca Hardy.

Asked by Mr Dimbleby if the 9,000 was the end of the matter, or if there was any other money received during his time in parliament, Mr McLeish said: "Yes there was David, and what we did with the Fees Office ..."

He went on after interruptions: "I don't know what the sum involved was. But let me say this. The Fees Office..."

Mr Dimbleby said: "You say you don't know how much it was but there was other money that you received, despite the taxpayer paying for your office, by subletting part of it?"

Mr McLeish said: "There were other sub lets which have been in the media. So that's not new."

David Dimbleby
David Dimbleby quizzed Mr McLeish

He said the money had been spent on his parliamentary office and went on: "Not a penny of that was for my own personal benefit. There is a situation of trust here."

He repeated: "I have not benefited at all personally from whatever happened."

Mr McLeish went on: "If I for a minute had benefited personally from any of this, then I would have no hesitation in saying that and adopting the consequences. But I clearly didn't."

In response to questions from Lord Strathclyde over who benefited from the money, and into what account it had been paid, Mr McLeish said: "I have a business account.

"Every penny that I obtained went into the business account and in turn every penny was spent on the parliamentary activities in my constituency."

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond offered Mr McLeish some advice

Alex Salmond argued the matter should be handled by a Holyrood standards committee inquiry, or "better still" by Mr McLeish making a statement to the Scottish Parliament.

"I don't believe Henry is a crook, if you are asking me the straight question," Mr Salmond said when Mr Dimbleby asked if he thought Mr McLeish was "coming clean".

Mr Salmond told Mr McLeish: "Don't have it dragged out bit by bit."

Mr McLeish replied: "I have apologised and I have said this was an error, and I take full responsibility."

The first minister added: "I regret very much what has happened but I don't want that to detract for a minute from the achievements of the second year of devolution."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Kirsten Campbell reports
"Mr McLeish knows the focus will not return to policies until the expenses row has died down"

Latest stories

Background

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

21 Oct 01 | Scotland
Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes