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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Labour to examine party accounts
Scottish Labour general secretary Lesley Quinn
Lesley Quinn wants to scrutinise the accounts
Scottish Labour's general secretary hopes to begin detailed scrutiny of the bank accounts of the first minister's constituency party.

Lesley Quinn has been urged by Jack McConnell to call in the police if she suspects any wrongdoing in the Motherwell and Wishaw records.

The first minister voiced his support in a letter, in which he seeks to draw a distinction between the party's inquiry into missing money in his Lanarkshire constituency and what he describes as unfounded smears against him.

But the Scottish National Party has dismissed the correspondence as a catalogue of contradictions and has repeated its call for Mr McConnell to make an immediate statement to the Scottish Parliament.

Jack McConnell's constituency office
The row centres on the constituency accounts

The Tories said there are still questions to be answered about where the money in the constituency accounts came from and where it all went.

The party launched an inquiry into the constituency accounts last week when it emerged that a local activist may have used party funds without authorisation.

It was suggested that there may be an 11,000 black hole in the constituency accounts.

There were arguments in the Scottish Parliament about when Mr McConnell found out about concerns over the accounts and when he reported his fears.

Last Friday, Mr McConnell wrote to the Scottish Parliament's presiding officer Sir David Steel stating that he "received no financial benefit" from the fund.

No input

However, it emerged on Monday that Mr McConnell received cash from a party development fund set up by the Iron and Steel Confederation to help fund his failed Labour leadership bid in 2000.

And some money from the fund had also been used to cover petrol expenses and set up a website.

It also emerged that Mr McConnell's personal assistant Christina Marshall was given the role of signatory to the fund as his representative.

According to the SNP, this contradicts the account given by Mr McConnell to parliament when he insisted that he had no input into the running of the accounts.

See also:

14 Oct 02 | Scotland
11 Oct 02 | Scotland
11 Oct 02 | Scotland
10 Oct 02 | Scotland
09 Oct 02 | Scotland
31 Oct 99 | Scotland
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