SNP MP Joanna Cherry in property row with Edinburgh magnate

SNP MP Joanna Cherry. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
SNP MP Joanna Cherry. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A businessman has complained to Nicola Sturgeon about Edinburgh south west MP Joanna Cherry who he says left him thousands of pounds out of pocket after pulling out of what he claimed was a deal to take over a lease for a vacant butcher’s shop for use as a constituency office.

Paul Basford, a fish and chip shop magnate and property developer, said the MP’s staff told him she would only sign a contract to buy the Gorgie Road premises if work was done to the property.

However, Ms Cherry, a QC and the SNP Westminster spokeswoman on justice and home affairs, said the taxpayer would have faced “extensive costs” for it. The Brechin-based businessman said that after having “costly” extensive work done as well as legal fees, Ms Cherry’s staff informed him they would be pulling out of a deal, which he claimed had been verbally agreed.

In a letter to the First Minister, Mr Basford told Ms Sturgeon he was “devastated and at a severe financial loss”.

An SNP spokeswoman said: “Further survey work was required due to the presence of wet rot and Joanna Cherry was not willing to commit taxpayers to the open-ended liability involved in upgrading the property.”