Corruption claims challenged

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THE LABOUR leader, John Smith, last night broke his long silence over allegations of political corruption in his Monklands East constituency, challenging Tory critics to put up or shut up.

Mr Smith challenged Ian Lang, Secretary of State for Scotland, to mount a full-blown inquiry into taunts by Allan Stewart, the Scottish local government minister.

Mr Stewart's claims, in a weekend speech, must either be substantiated or withdrawn, Mr Smith said in a letter to Mr Lang. For nearly two years Mr Smith has remained silent about claims that an old-style Labour municipal machine operated a regime of nepotism and favouritism.

Mr Smith said in his letter allegations of 'impropriety of various kinds' had been made against the council by Tory MPs, but none had been substantiated by any appropriate authority.