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Tory MSP failed to declare personal business interests

Alexander Burnett has been admonished by Holyrood's standards committee.

Alexander Burnett: The Conservative MSP holds millions of pounds worth of shares in the company.
Alexander Burnett: The Conservative MSP holds millions of pounds worth of shares in the company.

A Conservative MSP has been admonished after he failed to declare his personal business interests before quizzing Scottish ministers about a proposed housing development being carried by a rival to his own firm.

Alexander Burnett received a warning from Holyrood's standards committee after breaching the parliamentary rule book.

The MSP, who represents Aberdeenshire West in the Scottish Parliament, is a director of the Bancon Developments Holdings Ltd and holds shares in the firm worth around £5,524,602.

Burnett used his parliamentary position to ask questions about a development by rival Ross Developments and Renewables Ltd.

The Conservative politician had previously placed his directorship and shares on the parliament's register of interests.

However, all MSPs must separately declare a registrable interest on the form they send when submitting a written question to a minister.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "Mr Burnett accepts the findings of the committee.

"This was an administrative error that will not happen again."

Committee convener Clare Adamson said: "The committee is unanimous in the decisions reached on the complaint.

"Firstly, it agrees with the findings in fact and conclusion of the Commissioner. Secondly, it admonishes Alexander Burnett for his failure to make a declaration of a registered financial interest when giving notice of two parliamentary questions.

"The committee does not consider that the breach justifies the imposition of sanctions on Alexander Burnett on this occasion.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1365784-tory-msp-reported-to-watchdog-over-conflict-of-interest/ | default

"The committee believes that the declaration of registered interests in any matter before taking part in proceedings of the Parliament relating to that matter represents an important aspect of parliamentary transparency and accountability.

"The committee issued a reminder to all members of their responsibilities to declare relevant interests in March this year.

"The breach for which Alexander Burnett has been found responsible occurred before this and the committee is minded therefore to be lenient on this occasion. However, the committee will consider the full range of sanctions available to it for any future breaches of this nature."

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