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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 17:11 GMT
McLeish wins party's backing
Former First Minister Henry McLeish's offices
The Officegate affair saw Mr McLeish resign
Scotland's embattled former first minister has received backing from his constituency party.

Henry McLeish succeeded in his reselection for the Central Fife constituency, securing 12 out of 13 votes.

The vote clears the way for Mr McLeish to contest the seat in the Scottish parliamentary elections in 2003.

Henry McLeish
Henry McLeish: Reselected by party
Mr McLeish resigned as first minister amid controversy over his office expenses last year and the issue has failed to go away, with fresh developments last week.

But Labour Party officials had dismissed reports ahead of the vote that Mr McLeish's future was uncertain and said he had won a ringing endorsement.

A spokesman said: "Henry McLeish won a resounding endorsement from Central Fife Constituency Labour Party, winning his reselection by 12 votes to one."

The so-called Officegate scandal which led to his downfall has centred on a series of sub-lets of his constituency office in Glenrothes.

Mr McLeish claimed expenses from the House of Commons on the office when he was Westminster MP for Central Fife - but failed to declare the 36,000 he made from sub-lets.

'Badly let down'

Mr McLeish decided to quit when a further sub-let involving the Third Age Group came to light after he had declared details of five others to the media.

Last week, a Labour councillor who was closely involved with the charity resigned, citing media harassment.

Angela McCallum alleged that she had been "badly let down" by Mr McLeish, who failed to publish details of the leasing arrangement at the height of the affair.

Fife Council's audit committee is carrying out an inquiry into allegations that it paid 40,000 to the charity - which provided services to old people - after it had been wound up.

Scotland's auditor general, Robert Black, has also been asked to investigate by Scottish National Party MSP Tricia Marwick.

Fife Council Leader Christine May promised that the council investigation would not be a cover-up and said she was "extremely concerned" at the damage the affair had done to the image of Labour and the council.

See also:

31 Jan 02 | Scotland
Auditor probes Officegate row
08 Nov 01 | Scotland
Constituency stunned by resignation
06 Nov 01 | Scotland
Q&A: Officegate
Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


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