9am Briefing: Nigel Griffiths MP to stand down at next election

CITY MP Nigel Griffiths is to stand down at the next election, it has been revealed.

The Labour party's MP for Edinburgh South told members in a letter that he would vacate his seat to take up a role at an international education institution.

The decision comes after he was involved in a high-profile sex scandal in 2008, when he allegedly had an intimate encounter with a woman in his office in Westminster. But Mr Griffiths told the Evening News this morning that this had nothing to do with his decision.

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"It was a hard decision to take, but it's a very exciting challenge. It's a field I have specialised in.

"The offer came out of the blue in the past few days and once I checked out its authenticity it was straightforward."

Parking officials go easy on Balmoral guests

PARKING wardens have been told not to ticket cars parked illegally by guests at The Balmoral Hotel.

Bosses at the hotel have complained about guests being handed 60 fines for parking on a single yellow line outside the hotel.

Council transport bosses have now handed control of the area in front of the hotel to concierges, and will only ticket cars if a vehicle is parked without their permission.

A council spokesman said: "Parking restrictions in front of the Balmoral Hotel remain enforceable.

"But we have agreed to take a pragmatic approach to enforcement and work in partnership with the hotel concierges in an effort to better manage the area and facilitate the arrival and departure of hotel guests."

RBS in plan to sell HQ

ROYAL Bank of Scotland is reportedly considering a sale and leaseback of its flagship Scottish headquarters at Gogarburn.

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Gogarburn, the one-million square foot premises created under Sir Fred Goodwin during his ill-fated tenure as chief executive of the bank, cost 350m to build and was opened in 2005.

Although a strategic review of the group's 4bn own-premises portfolio has begun, Stephen Hester, the new chief executive, has stressed there is no question of moving the 3,200 staff.

Insiders reportedly said a sale and leaseback could be a more efficient use of the bank's resources.

Should it be sold, Gogarburn alone would be expected to raise more than 500m.

Five saved from Cramond

FIVE people were rescued from Cramond Island by the South Queensferry lifeboat after being stranded by the tide.

Four Spanish tourists and a fisherman had to be collected from the island after they were cut off on Sunday at noon. The latest rescue operation comes after the Evening News last week revealed that the South Queensferry lifeboat had seen a large rise in the number of rescues at Cramond in 2009.