‘End-of-term’ report row leads to police

Midlothian councillors Kelly Parry (SNP) and Peter De Vink (Indp)
Midlothian councillors Kelly Parry (SNP) and Peter De Vink (Indp)

Police have been called in after a row over an outgoing councillor’s controversial ‘end-of-term-report’ sent to every house in Midlothian.

But Independent councillor Peter De Vink, who is due to stand down on May 4, is defiant, despite admitting he may have made a “genunine mistake” in his claim about the potential earnings of a fellow councillor.

In the mail drop, Cllr De Vink, a former member of the SNP-led administration at Midlothian Council, attacked his former coalition colleagues.

It was his suggestion over the earnings of Cllr Kelly Parry that sparked the row.

Cllr Parry labelled the claims “completely false” and quoted the Representation of the People Act 1983, which states that it is a criminal offence to make or publish a false statement of fact about the personal character or conduct of an election candidate. She added: “Whilst debate on policy from political opponents is to be expected, this publication was an inappropriate personal attack and factually misleading.

“It is deeply unfortunate that Cllr de Vink appears to feel the need to try to influence the local elections in Midlothian in this way and as a result of discussions with my lawyer, my election agent has reported this matter to the returning officer for Midlothian and to Police Scotland. I have also reported Cllr de Vink to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.”

“I am hopeful the election campaign can now return to the issues most important to the people of Midlothian. I would also like to thank my colleagues, friends, family and constituents who recognise that standing up to bullies, no matter how much money or power they have, is the right thing to do.”

Cllr De Vink admitted to the Advertiser that he may have made a mistake regarding Cllr Parry’s earnings but was defiant, adding: “I will be delighted to be interviewed by the police.”

He hit back at his critics, saying: “Let them respond to the main points I have raised and stop diverting attention away from points which are serious issues. They should stop discrediting the total content of my report just because of one misunderstanding.”