Scottish Daily Mail

Barred, Green MSP in ‘serious’ breach of code of conduct

- By Tom Eden Deputy Scottish Political Editor

GREEN MSP Maggie Chapman has been sanctioned for praising the work of a rape charity during a probe into gender reforms without disclosing her previous financial links to it.

Ms Chapman is to be banned from attending a parliament­ary committee after being found guilty of breaching the MSPs’ code of conduct.

The 43-year-old had failed to declare a financial interest during an evidence session at Holyrood on gender laws.

She had previously been paid in her role as the chief operating officer for Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre before becoming an MSP.

Parliament’s standards committee unanimousl­y agreed Ms Chapman breached both the code of conduct and legislatio­n concerning declaring interests.

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton said: ‘This represents a serious error of judgment from Maggie Chapman. She was surely fully aware failing to declare her previous employment would represent a conflict of interest in relation to an evidence session on the gender reform Bill.

‘Breaching the code of conduct is an extremely serious matter and I support the action taken by the standards committee against her.

‘Maggie Chapman should apologise and guarantee she will declare any relevant interests in the future.’

The equalities committee had been taking evidence from Rape Crisis Scotland on gender recognitio­n reform (GRR) in May last year.

During the meeting, Ms Chapman spoke about the work of Rape Crisis Scotland, saying it has been ‘transinclu­sive for 15 years’ – but failed to mention she used to be paid by them.

Her register of interests notes she worked as chief operating officer for the group until June 2021 when she was elected as an MSP.

The parliament’s rules state details of the employment should remain in the register until the end of the current Holyrood session and the standards committee yesterday ruled it was a ‘declarable financial interest’.

Chairman Martin Whitfield noted that during the GRR evidence session, Ms Chapman was ‘pursuing a line of questionin­g that referenced the network of rape crisis centres, which includes Edinburgh Rape Crisis centre’.

But she failed to disclose her financial ties to the organisati­on and was therefore in breach of the rules.

Mr Whitfield said the committee unanimousl­y agreed a sanction should be imposed, with members recommendi­ng the North East Scotland MSP be excluded from one meeting of the equalities, human rights and civil justice committee.

Ms Chapman said: ‘While I acknowledg­e the one-meeting sanction imposed, it is in my view unpreceden­ted compared with previous complaints against other MSPs.’

Vowing to ‘strive to avoid any such confusion in future’, she said: ‘I have never sought to hide my previous employment. This is published in my written Register of Interests and I declared it at the first meeting of the committee.

‘It is also clear there could be no way in which I, or anyone else, could gain financiall­y or otherwise from my engagement in proceeding­s.

‘I simply, if mistakenly, did not view my former employment, which had ceased months before the committee meeting, as being of enough significan­ce to make further oral declaratio­ns.’

‘A serious error of judgment’

 ?? ?? Sanctioned: Ms Chapman
Sanctioned: Ms Chapman

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