Parliament and Politics: Legal attempt to unseat Belfast MP fails

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A BELFAST court yesterday rejected a republican attempt to unseat Joe Hendron, the moderate nationalist MP who last year wrested West Belfast from the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, writes David McKittrick.

A special electoral court presided over by two judges found the Social Democratic and Labour Party MP and his agent, Thomas Kelly, guilty of breaching laws covering election expenses. But it cleared them of any corrupt practice, and said the offences had come about by 'inadvertence and not by any want of good faith'. Dr Hendron said he was delighted.

He was found guilty of illegal practices in filing and delivering expenses. These had exceeded the maximum amount by pounds 782 because of Mr Kelly's inexperience. The case was brought by a supporter of Sinn Fein, which had hoped for a corruption verdict to bring about a by-election.