Code complaint is dismissed

Conservative group leader Cllr Pauline Winchester and SNP group leader Cllr Kelly Parry.
Conservative group leader Cllr Pauline Winchester and SNP group leader Cllr Kelly Parry.

A public standards complaint made against SNP group leader Kelly Parry by Conservative group leader Pauline Winchester has been dismissed.

Councillor Winchester made the complaint to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, alleging that Cllr Parry had broken the councillors’ code of conduct by failing to declare an interest in a council debate on COSLA, a group Cllr Parry receives £10,000 a year from for her role as spokesman for community well-being.

However, Cllr Parry has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the commissioner. She said: “I am pleased but not surprised that these vicarious claims were not upheld by the standards commission and that they were quite unequivocal in their conclusions.

“This complaint was a personal attack, a waste of public money and a rather desperate tactic to divert attention away from the Tories political failings locally and nationally.

“I will continue to get on with my day job and leave the playground politics to others.”

Cllr Winchester said: “I’m surprised by the decision but obviously have to accept it.

“The complaint was not politically motivated at all, but I’m not surprised that Councillor Parry thought it was. Anything any other party does in Midlothian is considered to be politically motivated by the SNP.

“I believe a declaration that Councillor Parry is paid by COSLA should have been made at the start of the debate for total transparency.

“The general public were NOT aware of that fact prior to the debate on leaving COSLA, which would have saved a cash-strapped Midlothian Council money. A debate on which Councillor Parry led the argument for Midlothian Council to remain a member.

“The voters of Midlothian deserve to know where all councillors’ priorities lie, and I will always report any misgivings I have with any non-declaration of interest, as should any councillor from any party.”