A Scottish Labour MP is under pressure to account for the £2326 worth of publicly-funded joinery carried out by his local publican.

Jim Devine MP's office expenses budget was used to claim the cash for his friend Tony Moran, who was employed to fit 66 metres of shelving.

However, when the Sunday Herald visited Devine's constituency office on Friday, not a single shelf was seen on the wall. A senior Labour source said that the party would look "carefully" at any irregular claims.

Last week, this newspaper revealed how Devine clawed back £2157 from the taxpayer for rewiring his second home in London. However, the invoice supporting the work had an invalid VAT number on it as well as a bogus postcode and a false address.

Devine said initially that the electrician was recommended by an unnamed individual in a London pub called The Prince of Wales. He also said the tradesman put the invoice "under the door" of his Kennington Road flat.

The MP's explanation raised questions over the identity of the electrician, as well as who had put him in touch with the mystery handyman.

But on Wednesday in an interview with the West Lothian Courier, the MP's local constituency paper, Devine said the electrician may even have died.

"Sadly, it looks as if the electrician passed away last year but we are working to find out the details," he said. "What it sounds like is the guy has been trying to avoid paying the proper tax. That is what it looks like happened here, and that's hardly my fault."

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Devine said the electrician was recommended by a friend called Tom O'Donnelly, from Ireland.

Referring to the electrician, Devine added: "Tom thinks he either died or is up north. Tom's been trying to find out." When asked if there was an electronic record of the original £2157 transaction between himself and the workman, Devine said he handed over cash.

Devine's expenses are now under further scrutiny after it emerged the taxpayer was billed £2326 for joinery services carried out by the MP's local publican. According to the invoice, the sum was for supplying and fitting 66m of heavy-duty shelving - the equivalent of more than 200ft.

At £25 "per lineal metre", the shelving alone would have cost £1650. The £2326 sum is inclusive of VAT and labour costs.

Other parts of the job included altering the building's doorways, renewing locks and changing the office partition.

The work was claimed as part of Devine's Incidental Expenses budget, which covers office costs, in 2006.

The individual whose name is on the invoice, Tony Moran, holds the licence for the eponymously-named Moran's Bar in Blackburn, West Lothian. The public house is yards away from Devine's home in the small town.

The barman in the pub, when asked if Moran was available for joinery work, said this was unlikely as the licence-holder had arthritis. The Sunday Herald tried to contact Moran but he was unavailable for comment.

A visit to the constituency office deepened the mystery, as no shelving could be seen.

One senior Labour Party source said: "What does Jim Devine need all that shelving for, his presidential library?

"If this is not a case for Labour's so-called star chamber the party body investigating questionable MP expenses then I don't know what is."

Despite Moran's name appearing on the shelving invoice, Devine would only say of the joinery riddle: "Tony Moran did no work for me in my office."

Asked numerous times whether Moran received £2326 from his allowances, Devine repeated: "Tony Moran did no work for me in my office." The MP is also facing an investigation into claims of mileage irregularities made by a former member of his staff.

A spokesman for the Taxpayers' Alliance said: "Mr Devine has to explain immediately where these shelves are, and what public money has been used for."

A spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party said: "The prime minister has made it clear that any MP who breaks the rules on expenses will not be a candidate at the next general election."