Tory MSP did not breach code for Edinburgh school bullying claims

Conservative MSP Liz Smith
Conservative MSP Liz Smith
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A Conservative MSP did not breach parliamentary standards by passing on information on bullying allegations which parents regarded as confidential to the school, an investigation has found.

The party’s education spokeswoman Liz Smith, who sits on Holyrood’s education committee, did not breach the code of conduct governing MSPs’ behaviour, a standards watchdog ruled.

The Ethical Standards Commissioner investigated a complaint against the MSP by parents that she passed on confidential details of bullying allegations involving their child at private school George Watson’s College in Edinburgh.

The commissioner indicated the allegations referred to the treatment of their child at the school and to the handling of their complaint by staff and governors there.

The complainers, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed Ms Smith, at the time a member of the school’s board of governors, disclosed information marked as confidential which she had “privileged access to as an MSP”.

Ms Smith denied having shared information inappropriately and said she had told the complainers she could not engage with them without a conflict of interest arising when they emailed her.

She forwarded their email with the bullying allegation details to the chairman of the board of governors at the school and to its principal.

Ms Smith said she acted not as an MSP but as a school governor.