Tory MSP faces Holyrood ban over questions breach

A Tory MSP is to be hit with a Holyrood ban for a fortnight after failing to declare business interests when lodging written questions.

Alexander Burnett was carpeted by the Standards committee

Alexander Burnett was carpeted by fellow MSPs on Holyrood's Standards committee today who say he should be prohibited from lodging written questions for two weeks. The politician was "admonished" by the same committee for a similar breach earlier this month.

On each occasion he failed to declare that his own financial interests could be affected by the issues he was raising in Parliament.

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The Aberdeenshire West MSP, who was first elected last year, is the director and chairman of a property development and letting company in Banchory, and a "property leasing and forestry undertaking". He also owns an estate with a market value of about £10m.

Both complaints to the committee were raised by SNP politicians and the Standards committee which recommended the ban today is also headed up by a Nationalist, Clare Adamson.

She said the committee was "unanimous" in the decisions reached on the complaint.

"It considers that the breach justifies the imposition of a sanction on Alexander Burnett," Ms Adamson said.

"The Committee will recommend that Alexander Burnett be prohibited from lodging Parliamentary Questions for written answer for a period of two weeks.

"I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Committee to remind all MSPs that they are obliged by law and by the Code of Conduct to make the appropriate written and oral declarations if they have a declarable interest before taking part in any proceedings of the Parliament."

It is up to Parliament to make a final decision on whether to impose a sanction.

The previous complaint which emerged a fortnight ago was made by SNP councillor David Aitchison. The latest complaint was made by the former Nationalist MSP Christian Allard.