The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

SNP candidate investigat­ed by legal watchdog

Tasmina AhmedSheik­h probed by Law Society over alleged misconduct

- GareTh Mcpherson poliTical reporTer

An SNP candidate in Perthshire is being probed by a legal watchdog over allegation­s of profession­al misconduct.

Nicola Sturgeon has refused to suspend Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh after it emerged the Law Society is investigat­ing the Ochil and South Perthshire incumbent.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh said she is aware the governing body is looking into “administra­tive matters” that have been raised in connection with her work at her former firm in Glasgow.

She was formally confirmed as the Westminste­r candidate for the Perthshire seat on Thursday – and has vowed to continue seeking re-election.

But the First Minister has refused to bow to pressure and suspend the former solicitor.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh, who was elected as an SNP MP during the party’s extraordin­ary Westminste­r surge two years ago, is defending a 10,168-vote majority in Ochil and South Perthshire.

She is a prominent figure in the party and sits on its decision-making body, the national executive committee, as its women’s and equalities officer.

In a statement released yesterday, Ms Ahmed-Sheikh said: “I’m proud of my 17-year career in the legal profession.

“I am aware that issues have been raised with the Law Society in relation to administra­tive matters during my time at my former firm.

“The Law Society has a duty to uphold profession­al standards and they must be allowed to do so without prejudice.

“In the meantime, I’m getting on with fighting this election campaign and seeking re-election to stand up for the people of Ochil and South Perthshire.”

James Kelly, Scottish Labour’s general election campaign manager, has written to the SNP leader demanding clarity, including whether the party hierarchy knew about any investigat­ion before Ms Ahmed-Sheikh was approved as a candidate.

“Nicola Sturgeon must make it clear if she will continue to support Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh as an SNP candidate, and in the wake of a series of scandals it once again raises questions about the party’s vetting process,” he said.

Murdo Fraser, for the Scottish Conservati­ves, said: “If an investigat­ion has been launched, then the SNP should do exactly as they did with their former MP Michelle Thomson and suspend Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh immediatel­y.”

A spokeswoma­n for the Law Society of Scotland refused to comment.

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