MP Hendrick backed by party

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Preston MP Mark Hendrick has been giventhe 'full support' of the city's Labour party in the wake of the expenses row.

The under-fire MP, whose claims for more than 7,000 of furniture using taxpayers money has sparked anger among residents in the city, has been backed unanimously by three-quarters of the city's Labour group.

He also disclosed to the Evening Post that he paid back almost 7,000 after he claimed mortgage interest payments for both his Preston and London homes on his taxpayer-funded expenses.

At a meeting of Preston's Constituency Labour Party, held following the official release of MPs expenses, Labour Party constituency group chairman Coun Carl Crompton said Mr Hendrick gave a "detailed explanation" of his expenses and all overpaid cash was given back a year ago.

He said the MP was grilled by party members and "it was not a smooth ride for him."

Coun Crompton said: "There was a couple of dozen people there so they all asked questions about various things, they did go into detail.

"The allowances system should be reviewed and made a lot more strict.

"Everybody knows that now, the MPs know that now but this is not a new thing.

"Mark realises that and he has said himself that it needs reviewing. He has not done anything wrong at all. he has claimed within the boundaries - but it needs reviewing."

Asked if Mr Hendrick understood why there was public anger over some of his claims, Coun Crompton added: "Yes, he fully understands."

An official statement given by Coun Crompton to the Evening Post said: "After a well-attended meeting held by three quarters of the delegates of Preston constituency Labour Party, our MP Mark Hendrick gave a detailed explanation regarding his allowances and made it clear that any outstanding money was paid back 12 months ago.

"This explanation was followed by a question and answer session, allowing party activists to ask about current issues, including expenses."

He said at the end of this session a resolution was proposed and seconded.

It read: "Preston Constituency Labour Party fully support our MP Mark Hendrick and approve of the way he has handled the situation. We look forward to him continuing to be our MP and to be returned at the next general election."

Coun Crompton added: "This resolution was passed unanimously by all present."

But residents have flooded the Evening Post with angry comments after Mr Hendrick's expenses were revealed on Wednesday.

One said: "I was a Labour supporter, but not any more. This MP is a disgrace to the people of Preston.

"Please stand down, before you are forced to."