MP 'overspent on election expenses'

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The Independent Online
JOE HENDRON, the MP for West Belfast, dishonestly bought his way into Parliament, a court was told yesterday.

Dr Hendron defeated the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams by 589 votes at the general election in April. A special election court in west Belfast was told the MP overspent his election budget and made 'seriously flawed returns' following the ballot.

Arthur Harvey QC, for one of Dr Hendron's constituents, said the MP did so through his agent, Mr Tom Kelly, 'to influence the election', adding he was guilty of 'not conducting the election fairly against his opponent' and seeking to obtain election by unfair, dishonest and illegal methods.

Mr Harvey also accused the Irish News morning newspaper of not being totally honest in its dealings with Dr Hendron about advertising during the election. The paper gave 'what can only be described as giveaway rates to the agent of Dr Hendron' and in doing so made 'a substantial contribution, in the equivalent of money terms', to his campaign.