Affair claim SNP MPs reported to Standards Commissioner

The two SNP MPs, who were allegedly involved in a love triangle with a Westminster journalist, have been reported to the UK parliamentary watchdog, it has emerged.

Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 12:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 1:52 pm
Stewart Hosie and Angus MacNeil are alleged to have had affairs with Serena Cowdy.

The Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw has written to the UK Parliament’s Standards Commissioner calling for an investigation into claims that Angus MacNeil and Stewart Hosie conducted their affairs with Serena Cowdy in hotels or accommodation paid for by the taxpayer.

SNP says ‘no impropriety’ over MacNeill expenses claimThe SNP has claimed any suggestions of “financial impropriety” are “totally wrong.

But Mr Carlaw said: “The SNP says there is no financial impropriety - but at the same time, it is widely reported that Angus MacNeil stayed with Ms Cowdy at a hotel in London and put the bill on expenses.

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“The best course of action is for the UK Parliament’s Standards Commissioner to look into the matter, which is why we are writing to the Commissioner this morning calling for an investigation.”

Mr Carlaw has written to Kathryn Hudson, the standards commissioner. His letter said: “I am writing to ask you to investigate reports that two serving members of parliament used accommodation allowance to conduct affairs with a political journalist.

“The MPs in question are Angus MacNeil and Stewart Hosie, and it has been alleged in several media reports that they conducted their respective affairs in either accommodation or hotels paid for by the taxpayer.

The rules of conduct in paragraphs 15 and 16 state: ‘15. Members are personally responsible and accountable for ensuring that their use of any expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters. Members shall ensure that their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone else, or confer undue advantage on a political organisation.

‘16. Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.’

“It would appear these members have fallen short in these areas.”

Mr MacNeil, 45, announced his separation from his wife last year while Mr Hosie and wife Shona Robison, Scotland’s Health Secretary, announced on Sunday they were separating.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon refused to be drawn on the subject, stating it was “a private matter”.

Reports have alleged Ms Cowdy was a frequent guest of Mr MacNeil at the Park Plaza in Waterloo - a hotel often used by the Western Isles MP.

Mr MacNeil chooses to stay in hotels while working in Westminster and rents out the flat he owns in the capital. He claims the cost of the hotels back in parliamentary expenses.

MPs do not have to disclose details of any guests to the authorities.

An SNP spokeswoman said: “Angus MacNeil’s accommodation has nothing to do with it. To suggest any financial impropriety is totally wrong.”

Mr MacNeil was previously forced to pay back almost £900 in hotel expenses after exceeding the nightly rate set out under Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) rules.

Meanwhile, as allegations of his affair with Ms Cowdy emerged, Mr Hosie and Ms Robison announced their separation.

A party spokeswoman said: “Stewart Hosie MP and Shona Robison MSP have separated. They have a young daughter and she will continue to be their priority.

“Both parties have asked that their privacy is respected during this difficult time. No further comment will be given.”