BREAKING: Tory MSP Quits After Lobbying Claims

The Scottish Conservatives Rural Economy spokesperson, Peter Chapman, has resigned from the Conservative frontbench, after reports in the Daily Record that he had sought to use his position as an MSP to ask councillors to approve plans to further develop an agricultural co-operative in which he held £50,000 of shares.

Mr. Chapman failed to disclose his connection to Aberdeen and Northern Marts Group during the voicemail, in which he told councillors that “I think it’s very important for the ANM Group as a whole which, as you know, is a co-op, owned by its farmer members. This is a very important part of the strategy for the group going forward and I’m just hoping that this application gets looked on in a positive manner.”

In his resignation letter to Ruth Davidson, Mr. Chapman reportedly stressed that he would not gain financially from the planning application and that “hand on heart…my only thought was to support a local business and improve our local economy.”

Mr. Chapman had registered his interest in the company in 2016, stating that he was a former director at ANM Group, but had not declared that he was in receipt of shares in the group until the 17th of April of 2018, three weeks before the planning application was due to be considered.

Commenting on Peter Chapman's resignation, Scottish Labour's Rural Affairs spokesperson Colin Smyth MSP said:
“This sudden announcement provides more questions than answers.
“Ruth Davidson’s band of Tory MSPs are well known for their long registers of interests – and she must be furious with him over this latest revelation.
“Rather than holding the SNP to account, the Tories seem more concerned with intervening in local issues to further their own interests.
“The public deserve to know how this situation came about, who knew about it and when – and whether any other Tory MSPs have been engaging in similar behaviour on other issues. 
“People in the north-east and across Scotland deserve answers."

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