Prescott ally faces fraud inquiry

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The Independent Online
John Black, a Hull councillor who is a strong political ally and friend of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, is to be investigated by the police over expenses he incurred as Lord Mayor in 1995-6. The police have taken over the inquiry from the local district auditor, Paul Lundy, who received a complaint about Mr Black's expenses from a Liberal Democrat councillor.

Mr Black incurred expenditure of pounds 42,000 during his year as Lord Mayor, charged to the Lord Mayor's Remuneration Fund, more than twice the average figure for previous years, and including pounds 10,000 spent on alcohol. The bill covered civic hospitality and was in addition to the pounds 5,100 mayor's personal allowance.

A spokesman for Humberside police said an investigation was now being carried out by its fraud section.

Last month Mr Black was suspended from his position as chairman of Hull City Labour Party by the National Executive Committee of the party.