‘Cybernat’ Neil Hay blasted for ‘tax-dodge’ role

Neil Hay spent a year with Partner for Life. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Neil Hay spent a year with Partner for Life. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A GENERAL election candidate who posted offensive messages on a fake Twitter account used to work for a company which specialises in helping people avoid paying tax.

Neil Hay, who is standing for the SNP in Edinburgh South, spent a year with Partner for Life, which is part of Totus Wealth Management.

It states on its website that its “objective is to minimise exposure to tax”.

Mr Hay, who is aiming to dislodge Labour’s Ian Murray in the constituency, was employed as a private client manager from January to December 2011 – although the SNP said he did not handle clients.

Policies surrounding tax avoidance schemes have proved central to the general election campaign, with the Nationalists vowing to clamp down on the practice.

Earlier this week, Mr Hay apologised after he admitted running a Twitter account 
under the name Paco McSheepie, from which he compared anti-independence campaigners with Nazi collaborators.

Among the tweets, he also said that Westminster was “an attraction to the vile and greedy”.

An SNP spokeswoman said Mr Hay did not advise anyone on avoiding tax.

She said: “He was on commission to give referrals to the firm. In the end, he didn’t refer anyone.”

But political opponents said the issue raised more questions over Mr Hay’s suitability as a potential MP.

Pramod Subarraman, Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh South, said: “While Lib Dems are focused on a positive campaign to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, the SNP in Edinburgh South are facing increasingly difficult questions. The people of Edinburgh South will have the final say on who is best to keep our economy on track.”

Labour yesterday suspended Banff and Buchan candidate Sumon Hoque after he appeared in court to deny driving offences, and called for the SNP to act over Mr Hay.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Neil Hay isn’t fit to represent the people of Edinburgh South. Instead of just criticising her candidate, it’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to show some leadership and sack Neil Hay.”

In tweets from the Paco McSheepie account, pro-UK supporters were branded “Quislings” – a reference to the Norwegian leader who ran a puppet government during Hitler’s occupation.

Mr Hay also mocked some elderly voters for being unable to remember their own names.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday it was for voters in Edinburgh South to decide on Mr Hay’s future.

david.maddox@jpress.co.uk