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Perthshire MSP rebuked for breaching confidence but cleared of breaking Holyrood rules

Liz Smith MSP
Liz Smith MSP

A Perthshire MSP has been criticised by Holyrood’s standards committee for forwarding on confidential information.

But the Scottish Conservative Liz Smith was cleared of breaking parliamentary rules by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

The Courier understands the complaint relates to bullying claims at private Edinburgh school George Watson’s College, where Ms Smith has taught and formerly sat on its board of governors.

In a statement in Holyrood, committee convener Claire Haughey said they agreed with the commissioner’s conclusion there was no breach of the parliamentarians’ code of conduct.

The group of MSPs said the Tories’ education spokesman, who is a former teacher, should “reflect” on her decision to send the details to people she knew well professionally.

“While the circumstances surrounding this complaint do not constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct, the complainers did ask that the material they sent to Liz Smith be treated in confidence,” Ms Haughey said.

“Notwithstanding this, Liz Smith forwarded the material to a third party with whom the complainers were in dispute.

“We believe that Liz Smith should reflect on her decision to forward material which she had received in confidence to a third party with whom she herself has a long-standing professional relationship.”

The commissioner’s full report is due to be published this afternoon.

But Scottish Conservative Liz Smith was cleared of breaking parliamentary rules by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

In a statement in Holyrood, committee convener Claire Haughey said they agreed with the commissioner’s conclusion there was no breach of the parliamentarians’ code of conduct.

The group of MSPs said the Tories’ education spokesman, who is a former teacher, should “reflect” on her decision to send the details to people she knew well professionally.

“While the circumstances surrounding this complaint do not constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct, the complainers did ask that the material they sent to Liz Smith be treated in confidence,” Ms Haughey said.

“Notwithstanding this, Liz Smith forwarded the material to a third party with whom the conduct. I was very confident this would be the case given that, throughout the very lengthy period of the complaint, I had always taken legal advice and the advice of the parliament’s officers.”

Ms Smith said: “I am very content with the commission’s findings which, unequivocally, conclude that I did not breach the parliamentary code of conduct.

“I was very confident this would be the case given that, throughout the very lengthy period of the complaint, I had always taken legal advice and the advice of the parliament’s officers.”

The commissioner’s full report is due to be published this afternoon.

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