MARRIED politicians Colin and Lisa Beattie have been censured by Scotland’s standards watchdog for failing to reveal they owned a string of properties.
The pair admitted breaching the councillors code of conduct when they appeared at a Standards Commission hearing into a complaint against them.
Mr Beattie, now SNP MP for Midlothian North & Musselburgh and former councillor for Midlothian South ward, and Mrs Beattie, SNP councillor for Midlothian East, between them own five residential properties in Edinburgh and two commercial properties in Fife and Angus.
They failed to declare either their ownership or the income received from the properties in the council’s register of interests, although they were required to do so.
They were formally censured under the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc (Scotland) Act 2000.
At the public hearing, panel chair Ian Gordon said: “The registering of interests by councillors is a fundamental requirement of the councillors’ code of conduct. In failing to register properly and timeously, their ownership of property, they did not demonstrate the openness and transparency required by the code”.
The commission has the power to censure, suspend or disqualify any councillor found to have breached the code of conduct.
Midlothian’s Labour group leader Derek Milligan, who lodged the complaint against them, criticised the decision to hand the Beatties only a censure, the mildest punishment available. He claimed they should both have been disqualified. He said: “The public will look at this in amazement.”
It was an Evening News story last year about a neighbour objecting to renewal of an HMO licence for a flat in Marchmont owned by the Beatties which alerted Councillor Milligan to the couple’s property interests.
Mrs Beattie had asked for details of the application not to be posted online because she was in a “sensitive occupation”, but they were published due to the objection.
Mr Beattie claimed their breach had been “a minor misdemeanour”.