Register of interests probe is third recent blow for the Scottish Nationalists
The SNP is today facing the embarrassment of a third MP being investigated for their conduct in just a matter of months.
According to reports today, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Hudson, has agreed to investigate claims that Phil Boswell, SNP MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill has failed to declare in the register of members’ interest a directorship.
The referral the commissioner was made last month by Paul McGarry, a Liberal Democrat candidate for Central Scotland in next year’s Holyrood elections after it emerged that Mr Boswell failed to declare on the Parliamentary register of interests that he was the sole director of Johnston Ltd. Under the rules MPs are expected to disclose any companies in which they have shareholdings above 15 per cent.
Boswell has been criticised also after he took an £18,000 interest-free loan which he received as a result of his job as a contract manager, although his declaration of interests notes that this is repayable on demand.
Speaking last month, Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly called on first minister Nicola Sturgeon to publicly criticise Mr Boswell. He argued:
“These are serious allegations and the SNP must look into this as a matter of urgency. If politicians are saying one thing in public you would expect them to be living up to it in private. Nicola Sturgeon branded tax avoidance obscene, immoral and despicable. She called for a zero tolerance approach in Scotland.”
While the SNP have sought to defend Mr Boswell, arguing that he has done nothing wrong, it will prove yet a further embarrassment for what remains an inexperienced parliamentary party in Westminster and comes following a series of troubles for the party.
In September, the party’s MP for Edinburgh West, Michelle West was force to resign the party whip pending a police investigation into alleged irregularities around property deals.
In November, the party faced a further blow after Natalie McGarry, MP for Glasgow East resigned the whip as well after the police named her as part of an investigation into allegations that £30,000 of donations had gone missing from the pro-independence campaign group Women for Independence.
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot ForwardLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.