Joan McAlpine did not breach rules, corporate body finds

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The Scottish National Party has welcomed the decision by the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) today that Joan McAlpine MSP breached no rules of the Parliament’s Members’ Expenses Scheme for a claim in respect of photography work, which she subsequently reimbursed in October 2012 on the basis that the work was not able to be competed.

The cross-party Corporate Body membership is Mary Scanlon MSP, David Stewart MSP, Tricia Marwick MSP, Linda Fabiani MSP and Liam McArthur MSP.

In a letter to the MSP, the Parliament’s Head of Financial Resources wrote:

“Your letter of 27 February 2014 invited the Corporate Body to consider whether any breach of the rules has taken place regarding your use of the Reimbursement of Members’ Expenses Scheme (the Scheme). The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body considered a report on the matter at its meeting this morning.

“I am writing to inform you that, on the basis of the report and annexes presented to the Corporate Body, the SPCB determined that there was no evidence that a breach of the rules of the Scheme has taken place.

“All the papers and evidence considered by the SPCB will be published on the Parliament’s website later this afternoon.”

In addition, the Standards Commissioner Stuart Allan wrote to Ms McAlpine on 20 March saying that a complaint made to him on this issue was a matter for the Corporate Body. Mr Allan said in his letter: “I am satisfied that there is no aspect of the complaint that is admissible for the purposes of my jurisdiction.”

Neither is there any evidence of a police investigation into the matter, despite a press report to the contrary on 13 March.

SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said: “This is a very welcome decision, which draws a line under the matter. Joan has abided scrupulously by the rules, and that has been confirmed today by the cross-party Scottish Parliament Corporate Body. Joan is a fantastic MSP for the South of Scotland, working extremely hard for her constituents and for Scotland.”