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Investigation reveals Scottish Parliament Corporate Body knew of MSP rental scandal six years ago

04 Oct

 In an additional, but unsurprising revelation on the rental expenses & mortgage allowance abuses of some of our msps, it has now been revealed that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body – the master of all cover ups when it comes to corruption at the Scottish Parliament, knew of John Home Robertson renting the flat his son allegedly bought himself, in 1999, for £72,000 with no mortgage .. with the details of who bought what for whom and who received the £7,000 rent which Home Robertson was charging the Scottish taxpayer for each year, allegedly, for renting his own son’s flat still somewhat unclear to the public.

Sounds like, a bit of a scam, doesn’t it ? and with Home Robertson not standing at next May’s Holyrood elections and being sent off, conveniently to the House of Lords, the whole thing stinks of corruption. What on earth is the peerage for ? being so ingenious as to get his son to purchase a flat near to the Scottish Parliament just a few days before he was elected to Holyrood .. then billing the taxpayer for the rent of the said flat ? Is that what the peerage is for ?

The Scottish Parliament knowing of it’s own scandals, however, is a usual story .. take for instance, when David Mcletchie failed to declare his taxi journeys (as well as other things pending) … everyone at the Parliament knew about it for a long time before it was eventually leaked to the media .. there were jokes of ‘taxi for david’ all round .. but no one said a thing, for years. Same for former msp Keith Raffan – another Conservative, turned LibDem .. he was caught claiming expenses for journeys he never made, amongst other things, and resigned his seat at Holyrood for a quick dash to London .. but his colleagues knew of his antics long before it hit the headlines. Same for the many more scandals surrounding msps & the Parliament … which are all kept quiet, despite protestations of transparency.

A quote from the Sunday Herald article :

The Sunday Herald has now learned that the practice of MSPs renting from relatives was known to members of the Corporate Body more than six years ago. The group, which is comprised of a cross-section of MSPs and is chaired by the parliament’s presiding officer, was aware of three such cases, including the one involving Home Robertson.

A parliament source said: “It was known to most of us on the inside that he was renting a flat from his son that was bought days before his election to Holyrood, but the Corporate Body didn’t do anything about it. People were concerned about the practice but there wasn’t a will to change it. It wasn’t a priority.”

The source added that the parliament did not address the rental arrangements because it was preoccupied with the new Holyrood building .

Remember folks, we can all trust the Corporate Body – after all, it was the SPCB which was involved in the funding scandal to build the Parliament in the first place .. which landed us with a £500million (and rising) building which has been falling to bits since it was put up .. and with the architect and the man who ordered it in the first place, both dead, the Corporate Body saw to it that no one got the blame of what must be the worst public funded financial scandal in Scottish history for some time.

As we take a look at the members of the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body .. we can see why the likes of past members such as ex-speaker David Steel – who came up from Westminster after a scandal over undeclared lobbying interests , present speaker George Reid, and the rest of them .. didn’t really want to rock the boat over yet another scandal where msps were being allowed to run riot with expenses claims & housing allowances.

Interestingly, the Sunday Herald reports today that First Minister Jack McConnell, who was the Finance Minister from 1999 – 2000 actually opposed the introduction of the Edinburgh Accomodation Allowance … and I wonder, if a little quote from the Scotsman comments board on Mr McConnell’s alleged antics in Wishaw might have been some mud thrown in revenge for the msp rental abuse scandal coming to light in the first place ? .. after all .. these people will turn on each other in an instant .. no matter whether they are from the same party or not.

I’ll have to keep an eye on some of the army of crooked lawyers too in this one it seems, because it so happens that some legal firms have been name dropping msps who are allegedly property speculators .. perhaps an attempt by the legal profession to curtail impending legislation which of course, the msps will have to pass … threaten an msp with more revelations, and they vote against it … I’m sure the legal profession with it’s vast array of dirty tricks, would be using this one ..

How easy it is for all these people who eat their own to turn on each other .. glad I’m not part of the Holyrood gang .. what’s the world coming to when rent fiddlers & secret property speculators can’t trust the legal crooks they do business with … my my.. and with calls for a review of the whole allowance & expenses scheme .. you can bet the Scottish Parliament will be again, the master of it’s own cover up

The plot certainly thickens .. as do the several additional scandals on the Scottish Parliament lining up in the out box to be published …

Read on for the article, from the Sunday Herald, at : http://www.sundayherald.com/59044

Holyrood knew of allowance ‘scandal’

By Paul Hutcheon

HOLYROOD bosses knew six years ago that MSPs were billing the taxpayer for renting from relatives but declined to change the practice.

The Corporate Body, which runs the parliament, was aware of three MSPs who were charging the public for staying in properties owned by family members. But they declined to propose changes to the system because they were preoccupied with the Holyrood building project.

The revelation follows a spate of negative headlines for the taxpayer-funded Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance, which permits some MSPs to either rent in Edinburgh, or to claim the interest payments on a mortgage in the capital.

The Sunday Herald last month disclosed how Labour MSP John Home Robertson was billing the public £7000 a year to stay in his son’s flat.

This was followed by revelations last week of how Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat transport minister, had used taxpayers’ money to help buy a £380,000 family home, with the aid of a £36,000 profit made on another property bought with state cash. Scott had previously charged the public for staying in his sister’s flat.

The Sunday Herald has now learned that the practice of MSPs renting from relatives was known to members of the Corporate Body more than six years ago. The group, which is comprised of a cross-section of MSPs and is chaired by the parliament’s presiding officer, was aware of three such cases, including the one involving Home Robertson.

A parliament source said: “It was known to most of us on the inside that he was renting a flat from his son that was bought days before his election to Holyrood, but the Corporate Body didn’t do anything about it. People were concerned about the practice but there wasn’t a will to change it. It wasn’t a priority.”

The source added that the parliament did not address the rental arrangements because it was preoccupied with the new Holyrood building .

It was left to former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan and SNP MSP Michael Matheson to raise concerns about the issue.

Their case was boosted earlier this year when first minister Jack McConnell asked the parliament to review the allowance . The call was initially resisted, but the Home Robertson and Scott rows prompted parliament last week to agree to review the entire expenses regime, in particular the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance.

The Sunday Herald has also learned that McConnell, when finance minister between 1999 and 2000, opposed the introduction of the allowance.

Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan said the case for changing the system was overwhelming: “These latest revelations will only add fuel to an already blazing fire of discontent over a scheme which exposes politicians as having their noses in a taxpayers’ trough.

“The changes that are required need to be brought in now, not after next May’s elections, because too many MSPs will have the opportunity to cash in between now and then.”

An Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “The Allowances scheme as a whole was revised and approved by Parliament in June 2001. Any Member could have lodged amendments to this scheme but the motion was passed unopposed.

“In May of this year, the current Corporate Body asked staff to review issues arising back to 1999 and to produce an options paper by March 2007.”

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Posted by on October 4, 2007 in Law

 

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