Milngavie MSP rapped over ‘political’ bulletin

GIL PATERSON HOLYROOD
GIL PATERSON HOLYROOD

MILNGAVIE MSP Gil Paterson has been forced to pay back nearly £3500 in expenses after a bulletin he sent to constituents before the Holyrood elections was judged to have breached the Scottish Parliament’s guidelines.

Mr Paterson, pictured, sent his annual report in February when he was convener of Holyrood’s standards committee and it was later judged that it didn’t comply with the Parliament’s allowances guidance.

He was a list member for the West of Scotland until May and won the Clydebank and Milngavie seat after defeating Labour’s Des McNulty by around 700 votes.

Reports which are sent using parliamentary resources are not allowed to be party political - they should just tell people about the work that an MSP has been involved in. However, Mr Paterson’s publication criticised the Westminster Labour government for its ‘disgraceful actions’ in relation to the Post Office and praised his own political party, the SNP, for its policies.

Mr McNulty made a complaint about this and the governing Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body investigated the matter after the election.

In September, a Holyrood official wrote to McNulty: “The SPCB, in considering the annual report, decided that while the majority of the report was compliant with the guidance issued by the SPCB there were elements that were not.”

As a result of the finding, Paterson paid back £3200 in printing costs and £290 for postage.

Mr Paterson said: “Comments were made to me that this was a model annual report and was a totally accurate reflection of my activities through the year.

“Unfortunately I raised a few issues regarding the Labour party and a complaint came in from my political opponent. The corporate body decided this was inappropriate and upheld his complaint.

“However, I stand by everything in the report and this judgement does nothing to change it in any way.”