Six Labour vote- riggers sacked from Birmingham City Council for corruption are facing further financial misery as the local authority contemplates legal action to reclaim more than £66,000 it paid to the men in expenses.

Council leader Mike Whitby said he would instruct council lawyers to see whether the six former councillors in Aston and Bordesley Green could be forced to hand back allowances paid since June 2004.

Backbench councillors in Birmingham receive £14,471 a year in basic allowances for performing their public duties - equivalent to just over £11,000 for the almost ten months served by the six until an elections court decided to expel them from the council.

Elections Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC announced on Monday that the six - Shah Jahan, Shafaq Ahmed and Ayaz Khan in Bordesley Green and Mohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal and Mohammed Kazi in Aston - were guilty of corrupt and illegal practices after masterminding widespread postal vote fraud.

They are already facing legal costs arising from the five- week trial of up to £500,000.

Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said it appeared logical that, since Mr Mawrey decided the six were improperly elected, they had never been entitled to allowances.

"I shall be seeking legal opinion on this matter," he added.

In a statement to a meeting of Birmingham City Council, Coun Whitby challenged all Labour councillors elected by a substantial number of postal votes to "stand in front of the mirror, bare their souls and ask should we be here?"