Michelle Thomson praises airport despite invite retraction

Michelle Thomson leaves her surgery at Muirhouse Millennium Centre. Picture: TSPL
Michelle Thomson leaves her surgery at Muirhouse Millennium Centre. Picture: TSPL
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Embattled MP Michelle Thomson has voiced her support for Edinburgh Airport – despite officials “uninviting” her to a prestigious event featuring George Clooney.

The Edinburgh West politician had been asked to attend this month’s Scottish Business Awards at a table with airport chief Gordon Dewar, who has been shortlisted for CEO of the year.

But the invitation was retracted in the light of ongoing controversy around her property dealings.

Thomson quit the SNP group in the Commons after a row broke about her business dealings, which involved buying houses at below full market value and selling them at far higher prices, sometimes on the same day.

A solicitor who acted for her has been struck off for professional misconduct.

Ms Thomson denies any wrongdoing and has expressed her desire to have her SNP membership reinstated once a police investigation has concluded.

It is understood that she was initially invited to this month’s Scottish Business Awards by Edinburgh Airport due to her role as the SNP’s business spokeswoman, but the airport is also within her constituency.

The glitzy Scottish Business Awards, which will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on November 12, will feature Hollywood actor George Clooney in a rare visit to Scotland.

Supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the event aims to celebrate excellence in Scottish business and to commend those who are the driving forces behind successful enterprises.

Speaking to the News, Ms Thomson said: “I have huge admiration for Gordon Dewar and for all that Edinburgh Airport has managed to achieve.

“The airport is an important part of my constituency and I will continue to conduct a professional and productive relationship with everyone there.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Lib Dem candidate for Edinburgh Western in next year’s Scottish Parliament vote, said he was not surprised by the snub, given the recent 
controversy.

“The residents of Edinburgh deserve far more,” he said. “We continue to have an under-performing MP whose focus has clearly been drifting away from her duties.

“She needs to look to address this if she is to restore any confidence in herself and in the office that she holds.”

Other special guests at the Scottish Business Awards will be the Capital’s Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, and comedian Rob Brydon.

In previous years, event founder Josh Littlejohn – who also set up the Social Bite sandwich shop chain – has secured appearances from high-profile speakers Sir Richard Branson, Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Representatives from Edinburgh Airport recently spoke with Michelle Thomson and explained that it was now unavoidable but to rescind the invite in light of the situation she presently finds herself in.”