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MSP cleared as watchdog finds no breach of code of conduct

The Scottish Greens claimed Douglas Lumsden had broken the MSPs' code of conduct.
The Scottish Greens claimed Douglas Lumsden had broken the MSPs' code of conduct.

A north-east MSP has been cleared of wrongdoing amid claims he used a publicly-funded surgery to promote an election candidate.

The Scottish Greens lodged a complaint with the Scottish Parliament that Tory MSP Douglas Lumsden had used the event to promote Sheila Powell’s bid in the Mid Formartine by-election last week.

Their complaint centred around a tweet sent from Mr Lumsden’s account which included a picture of him with Mrs Powell at the event in Oldmeldrum on August 10.

Lumsden cleared by watchdog

Under Holyrood rules, members are not allowed to use surgeries, which are funded by the taxpayer, for party-political purposes.

However, it is understood the parliamentary watchdog has established the former Aberdeen City Council leader did not breach the MSPs’ code of conduct.

Instead, bosses have established that Mr Lumsden met Mrs Powell before the surgery, and posed for a photograph to support the Light the North art trail in aid of cancer charity Clan, but she was not involved in the event itself.

Complaint a ‘waste of resources’

Speaking after he was cleared, Mr Lumsden described the complaint as “vexatious”.

“I’d like to thank officials for how quickly the matter has been handled,” he said.

“In my opinion, this was nothing more than a vexatious claim which wasted parliamentary resources.

“I hope the Greens will reflect on their actions and whether it was all worth it for 144 votes.”

The Scottish Greens were contacted for comment.

Mrs Powell went on to take the Aberdeenshire Council seat with a narrow victory over the SNP candidate Jenny Nicol.

The by-election was called after the previous incumbent, Karen Adam, was elected as the new MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast in May.

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