SNP councillors who burned Smith Commission cleared of misconduct


Standards Commission clears councillors who posted video of protest online

THE FOUR SNP councillors who were suspended after burning a copy of the Smith Commission have been cleared of misconduct charges – paving their way for entry back into the party.

Renfrewshire council politicians Brian Lawson, Will Mylet, Kenny MacLaren and Mags MacLaren made headlines in December after filming themselves burning a copy of the report which set out proposals for new powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

SNP national secretary Patrick Grady suspended the councillors for two months while the matter was investigated.

However, the councillors have been cleared of wrongdoing by the Standards Commission and SNP sources confirmed to CommonSpace that their party suspension is now over.

Councillor Lawson – a former leader at the local authority – told the Daily Record: “I was always confident that we had done nothing to breach the code.

“The complaint was thrown out at the very first hurdle.

“We have not even been interviewed by the Commission. We carried out a legitimate political protest about a subject very dear to our hearts

“We genuinely believe the Smith proposals will do little to help our constituents.”

In a letter written to each of the councillors, the Standards Comission for Scotland said the matter will go no further.

It stated: “In a letter written to each of them, the Standards Commission for Scotland has now said the matter will go no further.

It added: “The matters raised did not amount to a breach of the Code of Conduct.

“The information received did not provide grounds for any investigation of a possible breach of the code.”

The video of the incident, was posted online and featured Councillor Mylet staying “This is exactly what we think of the Smith Commission report.

“No real powers for Scotland, yet again, from Westminster. We have been lied to again.”

At the time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the councillors actions were “not acceptable behaviour”.

The initial complaint was made Renfrewshire Council’s Labour leader Mark Macmillan, who himself was found to be in breach of the Standards Comission Code of Conduct last year for – and speaking in favour of – giving a council contract to an organisation which employed him as a public policy advisor. At the time, he said the incident was “an honest mistake”.