MP Michelle Thomson co-operates with property probe

Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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CITY MP Michelle Thomson has said she will co-operate with a police investigation into property deals she conducted in 2010.

Ms Thomson – who has withdrawn from the SNP group at Westminster while the inquiry takes place – has been linked with property deals involving Christopher Hales, a solicitor who was struck off by the Scottish Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal (SSDT) for professional misconduct involving 13 transactions in 2010 and 2011.

Prosecutors have now instructed police to carry out an investigation into “alleged irregularities” relating to property deals in the year 2010/11 following a complaint by the SSDT.

The Edinburgh West MP last night withdrew from the party whip, which means she will not speak for the SNP on business issues or continue as a member of the parliamentary group at Westminster.

She said: “I have always acted within the law and look forward to being cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I have this afternoon decided to withdraw from the party whip whilst an investigation takes place.

“Once the investigation is concluded I look forward to returning to play a full role in party activities.”

Ms Thomson was elected in May after becoming politically active during the Scottish independence campaign, in which she had a prominent role as managing director of pro-independence group Business for Scotland.

She worked in financial services for more than 23 years before setting up her own property business in 2009, and was the SNP’s Westminster spokeswoman for business.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that as a result of a complaint from the Scottish Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal, it has been instructed by the Crown Office to carry out an initial investigation into alleged irregularities relating to property deals in the year 2010-2011.”

A Crown Office spokesman said: “As a result of a ruling of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal, the Crown Office instructed the police service of Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged irregularities relating to property deals in the year 2010-2011.”

Opposition parties said Ms Thomson had questions to answer.

Scottish Labour public service spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “This case is now a serious problem for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“We need full transparency from the people at the very top of the SNP about who knew what and when.”

A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said: “These are serious allegations and the people of Edinburgh West deserve answers. The concerns of constituents have been mounting for some time.

“Both Michelle Thomson and the SNP must co-operate fully with Police Scotland and the Crown Office in the course of their investigations.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is important that any allegations that are put forward in this matter are fully and comprehensively answered.”