Holyrood to probe Wark complaint

By Hamish Mackay

Scotland’s parliamentary standards commissioner has launched a
formal investigation into a complaint regarding links between First
Minister Jack McConnell and BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark.

It is understood that Dr Jim Dyer has already completed a
preliminary assessment of the complaint which claims McConnell should
have declared a family holiday at Wark’s Majorcan villa in 2003 in the
parliament’s register of members’ interests.

Dyer has decided there is enough evidence to warrant a full investigation.

A
row blew up over the close friendship of McConnell and Wark last month
after it emerged that the First Minister and his family had returned to
Wark’s villa in December 2004 to spend Hogmanay as her guests.

However, it is understood that Dyer’s inquiry will focus only on the 2003 holiday.

Under
Scottish Parliament rules, MSPs must declare all gifts worth more than
£250, even if received in a private capacity from a friend.

Dyer will report his findings, in confidence, to the Scottish Parliament’s standards committee.

McConnell and Wark have claimed the holidays were a case of family friends of almost 20 years sharing time together.

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