We move to agenda item 2 of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee’s 22nd meeting in 2018. The committee has been considering a complaint about a member of the Scottish Parliament, and I will now read out a statement that sets out the committee’s findings.
On the committee’s behalf, I am making the following statement in relation to a complaint against an MSP. The committee has considered a complaint from Mr Ricky Taylor about Peter Chapman MSP. The complaint is that Peter Chapman may have breached the “Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament” by failing to disclose his shareholding in ANM Group when making representations on the company’s behalf to members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area committee.
The committee is unanimous in the decision that it has reached on the complaint. It agrees with the findings in fact and the conclusion of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland that there is no evidence to suggest that Peter Chapman’s actions amounted to paid advocacy as prohibited by section 4 of the code of conduct for MSPs and by the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006.
The committee looked carefully at the paid advocacy provisions of the 2006 act and the code of conduct. Although the member advocated on ANM Group’s behalf in his capacity as an MSP, we agree with the commissioner that there is no evidence to demonstrate that Peter Chapman—whose shares in ANM Group are of a fixed value—agreed to act on ANM Group’s behalf in return for, or in expectation of, receiving a payment or benefit in kind from the company. In addition, there is no evidence of a connection between the member’s action and the level of interest that was due to him in respect of his shareholding.
Full details of the complaint and of the commissioner’s investigation of it will be included in the committee’s report, which will be published later this afternoon. Until then, the report will remain confidential, and neither I nor any other committee member will make further comment until it is published.09:45 Meeting continued in private until 10:48.