Papers step up war on MSPs with new expenses exposés

The Scottish media’s war with politicians has intensified — spearheaded by the Scottish Daily Mail and The Scotsman.

The Scottish Daily Mail attacked transport minister Tavish Scott for frequently using his chauffeur-driven government car, while preaching to the ratepayers to get traffic off the roads.

And The Scotsman led on controversial MSP Brian Monteith across pages one and two for claiming taxi expenses for private journeys.

Caught in the glare of the Scott spotlight was his partner — BBC Scotland news reporter Kirsten Campbell — who, ironically, was forced by BBC Scotland management to give up her job as a Holyrood political correspondent after her relationship with Scott became public knowledge. A picture of Scott and Campbell getting into his government car was splashed over the front page of the Scottish Daily Mail, along with a two-page inside spread, on 3 February. The paper used FoI legislation to reveal that the minister wasn’t practising what he preached.

The previous day the £72,000-a-year MSP had mounted a £1m taxpayerfunded campaign to encourage people to walk, cycle, car-share and use public transport.

Former PR consultant and freelance journalist Monteith resigned from the Tory party after Scotland on Sunday editor Iain Martin published a private email in which Monteith suggested his paper call for Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie’s resignation.

The new Scotsman story revealed that Monteith had racked up £10,033 in taxi expenses in the six years since he became an MSP.

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