First Minister cleared over holiday with Kirsty Wark

By Hamish Mackay

Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell has been cleared of any
wrongdoing following his controversial New Year holiday with BBC
Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark at her Majorcan villa.

The standards commissioner Dr Jim Dyer and the Holyrood Standards
Committee rejected five complaints over McConnell’s failure to declare
the holiday in the register of members’ interests.

results of the investigation was welcomed by McConnell, who came under
intense pressure over his friendship with Wark and her husband, Alan
Clements, both of whom are directors of Scottish independent TV
production company IWC Media.

Dyer concluded there was “no gift
of a benefit in kind to the member, as there was no cost which the
McConnells could reasonably have been expected to pay which was met (by
either Ms Wark or Mr Clements)”.

The standards committee pointed out that the Clements and the McConnell family had stayed at the villa at the same time.

Dyer’s report stated that the McConnells had booked and paid for their
return flights to Majorca and the hire of a car, and there was no
charge for accommodation.

Although the standards committee
accepted Dyer’s findings, under proposed changes to the Members’
Interest Order, there will be a greater obligation on MSPs publicly to
declare any contacts that could be perceived as compromising.

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