Angry reaction to MP's expense claims

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Constituents told the Evening Post that Mr Hendrick paying back the £7,000 should not mean the end of the matter.

Police worker Christine Singleton, 49, of Penwortham, said: "Just paying the money back does not make it right. How long has this been going on?"

Donna Goodwin, 27, of Bamber Bridge, said: "It's money that could have been better spent than lining his back pockets. It does make me very angry."

Retired Sue Best, 64, of Fulwood, said she usually voted Conservative, but the expenses scandals had put her off voting at all.

She said: "I have lost faith in all of them – they are all the same. It will be the first time I have not voted. Mark Hendrick can pay the money back, but the damage is done. If the ordinary man had done it, they would be in court."

Her husband David Best, 65, said he did not believe Mr Hendrick would stand down over the revelations.

He said: "They have feathered their own nest and the recession will be forgotten about while all this is going on. It's disgusting."

Royal Mail worker Mark Farmer, 47, of Lostock Hall, said he would like to see an independent candidate run in Preston.

He said: "I wish there was an election tomorrow. I think an independent candidate, with a genuine interest in representing people, would certainly do well.

"Some of the MPs are criminals. Why are they not investigated? It's deplorable."

His wife, Susan, 47, a nurse, added: "It's made worse by the financial mess we are in, while they seem to have spent money on extras."

Jim Ashworth, 58, a bus driver of Gamull Lane, in Ribbleton, said: "If it was me fiddling on the buses I would be down the road. I think he should resign.

"We must be the laughing stock of Europe but there will be no prosecutions, it will all get shoved under the carpet."

Preston Coun Mark Jewell, who represents Larches and will stand as the Lib Dem's Parliamentary candidate at the next general election, said: "I believe there is a culture in Westminster where certain things have become acceptable."

Fellow Lib Dem and Preston Coun Danny Gallagher said: "Whatever he has done is for his conscience – he is supposed to represent the people.

"He is the voice of the people and they put him there. I just cannot get my head around all these expenses – what do they need much for? I am sure the people are aware of what Mark Hendrick has been doing and they will have their say at the ballot box."

Labour Coun Patricia Woods, who represents Ribbleton, said: "In general I am quite angry about what has been going on for the whole lot of them – if it was Joe Public they would have been locked up.

"It is fraud in a lot of cases, but I do not want to comment on Mark Hendrick individually. It is easy to single people out when the whole system needs overhauling."

Labour Coun Bhiku Patel, who represents Riversway, said: "For me, Mark Hendrick is a good MP – very hard working and represents Preston very well.

"I think this situation has arisen probably because it is the system that allows them to do that.

"I think they are just maximising on their claims with allowances and, for me, it is not an issue of de-selection or anything like that. He has a good majority in Preston and he has a lot of respect all around.

"It is regrettable he has done this – it is just the system that has allowed him to do this."

Conservative Coun Bill Tyson, who represents Ashton, said: "All the people that have paid money back to me have proved how guilty they are. I am really disgusted with Mark Hendrick coming up with pathetic excuses like that. I cannot understand what these MPs are playing at – it is a disgrace."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "There will be an independent audit of all expenses taking place as quickly as possible, the results of which will be looked at by the Chief Whip and the General Secretary of the party and they will decide whether to refer individual MPs to a special NEC endorsement panel."

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