Scotland politics

Phil Boswell: Complaint upheld against SNP MP

Phil Boswell MP
Image caption Mr Boswell was one of the 56 SNP MPs elected to Westminster in May of last year

A complaint against SNP MP Phil Boswell for failing to register his shareholding in a company has been upheld by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

But the commissioner accepted Mr Boswell had made a "genuine mistake".

And she did not think it was an attempt to conceal his financial interests.

The Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP apologised for failing to register an interest in Boswell and Johnston Ltd.

He told the commissioner he had misunderstood the rules on MPs' financial interests.

In her ruling. standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson said her investigation had centred on claims that Mr Boswell had not registered his shareholding in Boswell and Johnston in the Register of Members' Financial Interests within a month of becoming an MP.

'Acceptable response'

She said Mr Boswell had apologised for the breach, which he said was the result of him misunderstanding the rules.

Ms Hudson said: "I accept that this was a genuine mistake and not an attempt to conceal his financial interests".

Mr Boswell has agreed to rectify the matter by having the relevant entry in the Register of Members' Financial Interests italicised for a period of 12 months.

The commissioner said: "I have, therefore, upheld the allegation. I consider Mr Boswell has made an acceptable response and that the rectification action is sufficient to bring the matter to a close."

The MP had been reported to the commissioner by Paul McGarry - a Liberal Democrat candidate in the forthcoming Holyrood election.

Tax loophole

Mr Boswell is still being investigated by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Association over his use of Westminster's expenses system. The claims focus on his office expenses.

Separately, Mr Boswell admitted in December that he had benefited from a tax loophole by receiving an interest-free loan of £18,000 while working for a US energy company before becoming an MP - something he called a "common practice" in the oil and gas industry.

The SNP said at the time that the MP had always declared his interests in line with guidelines, and was "committed to ending tax avoidance schemes".

Two other SNP MPs - Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry - are currently suspended from the party after withdrawing from the whip.

Ms Thomson has been linked to property deals that led to a solicitor being struck off, while Ms McGarry is at the centre of a police investigation into claims that donations made to the Women for Independence group have gone missing. They deny any wrongdoing.