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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 17:10 GMT
MP examines his accounts
Houses of Parliament
Mr Kirkwood sits on the House of Commons Commission
Another Scottish MP has become the focus of a cash row after it was alleged that he failed to declare more than 14,500 in the Commons Register of Members' Interests.

The Independent newspaper alleged that Roxburgh and Berwickshire MP Archy Kirkwood has received regular cash payments from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, of which he is a director, since 1989.

It alleged payments to support research activities made in 1989 and 1992 were not recorded in the members' register.

The Liberal Democrat MP is a member of the House of Commons Commission which controversially decided not to automatically reappoint Standards Commissioner Elizabeth Filkin.

Archy Kirkwood
Archy Kirkwood: Checking the figures
It is alleged that the "undeclared" payments made to Mr Kirkwood were used to pay the salary of Paul Jacobs, an assistant who worked in his constituency office from 1989 to 1992.

Mr Kirkwood told the newspaper: "The money that applies to the 1989 and 1992 trust accounts is all money that was paid as salary to Paul Jacobs, who was my constituency assistant.

"There was a month in 1989 when he started to work for me when his first month's salary was paid direct to him, unbeknown to me. In retrospect that might be an omission. I don't know but I'm investigating it."

In reference to the 1992 register, Mr Kirkwood added: "Similarly in 1992. The trust continued to pay him direct - not through me - three months salary, which enabled him to get another job.

"But I then took him off my register and that may have been an omission as well. But I need time to look into this."

Latest row

A spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats said: "Archy Kirkwood did not receive any of the money personally."

She added that the MP would be seeking advice on whether he needed to register the sums involved.

The row is the latest chapter is a series of allegations to be levelled at Scottish MPs.

Controversy over office expenses at Westminster lay at the centre of Henry McLeish's decision to resign as first minister of Scotland.

Weeks after he stood down, a Sunday newspaper alleged that Eastwood MP Jim Murphy and Dumfries MP Russell Brown had claimed full rent for their constituency offices while receiving rent by sub-letting space to local MSPs.

The House of Commons Fees Office has since cleared both men and the standards commissioner has given Mr Murphy the all clear although Mr Brown still awaits the result of her preliminary inquiry.

See also:

19 Dec 01 | Scotland
'All clear' for expenses row MP
18 Dec 01 | Scotland
Expenses row MP welcomes decision
03 Dec 01 | Scotland
Labour MPs told to check expenses
08 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
McLeish's exit: Timetable of events
06 Nov 01 | Scotland
First minister denies office fiddle
06 Nov 01 | Scotland
Q&A: Officegate
06 Nov 01 | Scotland
Parties' fury at McLeish admission
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