Wednesday, 16 May 2018 05:06



Ruth Davidson has been urged to “clean up” the Scottish Tory party after her Rural Economy Spokesperson was forced to resign in disgrace for lobbying local councillors over a planning application by a business that he holds shares in.

Peter Chapman resigned his front bench position this afternoon after lobbying was exposed by the Daily Record. It is reported that he left a voicemail with a local Aberdeenshire councillor, stating “I represent the North East in my shadow position of rural economy”, before calling for a "positive" outcome for a planning application by ANM Group due to be considered by a committee the councillor served on. Mr Chapman’s Register of Interests confirms that he holds a £50,000 shareholding in the firm.

It follows previous cases of prominent Tories using their position as MSP to lobby for and ask questions that would potentially support their own financial interests.

Peter Chapman was previously accused of selling access after breaking rules by raffling off a lunch in parliament for a Tory fundraiser, raising serious questions over cash for access. 

Last year, Tory MSP Alexander Burnett was reprimanded and sanctioned by Holyrood’s standards committee for separate incidents where he failed to declare relevant interests. 

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson hired his own IT firm to design his website then claimed the costs back from the taxpayer.

And Tory Rachael Hamilton came under fire for using her position to complain about hotel rates rises – despite the fact that she was director and company secretary of the Buccleuch Arms and, in fact, benefited from rates relief for the hospitality sector introduced by the Scottish Government. 

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The time has now come for Ruth Davidson to clean up her party. She really needs to get a grip of her self-interested colleagues on the Tory benches.

“The Tories think that they can do what they want and get away with it – but time and time again they get caught out. Peter Chapman is not the first, and I doubt he’ll be the last.

“This latest example is an incredibly serious issue – and shows just how far Ruth Davidson’s party are prepared to go in order to feather their own nests. 

“Peter Chapman joins his Tory colleagues in doing what he can as an MSP to put the interests of his business ahead of those of his constituents’ – and it’s not on.” 

‘Top Scots Tory quits after Daily Records reveals MSP lobbied for firm he holds £50k stake in’ 

‘Richest MSP formally sanctioned over code of conduct breach’ 

‘Tory hotel boss under fire for asking Parliament to reduce costs ... for hotel bosses’ 

‘Tory MSP under fire after paying his own firm from public cash’ 

‘Tory MSP accused of 'selling access' in Holyrood parliament’ 

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