Secret register reveals Murrell’s house in Portugal and Harvie’s criminal record

A little-known document not available to the public reveals all the secret interests of SNP and Scottish Green ministers – and it makes for VERY interesting reading, according to the [Glasgow] Herald. 

A high-level Scottish Government register of interests that is not available to the public reveals some sensational new information about SNP and Green ministers.

The document compiled by the country’s top civil servant shows that Nicola Sturgeon’s husband and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell owns a half-share of a house in Portugal.

He is under scrutiny at the moment due to the police investigation into the ‘missing’ £600,000 from the SNPs’ accounts and his mysterious £107,000 loan to the party he runs.

Other revelations include the fact that Greens co-leader Dumbarton man Patrick Harvie, left, has a conviction for breach of the peace in relation to a “nonviolence direct action protest” thought to relate to Faslane nuclear submarine base.

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Although the Scottish Parliament maintains a register of interests for all MSPs which IS available to the public, the ministerial register was not published.

In fact, it was not even known about until the downfall of UK Conservative chairman Nadhim Zahawi for failing to declare his HMRC investigation in the equivalent register at Westminster.

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Tom Gordon, the sharp-eyed political editor of The Herald, managed to obtain a copy of the Scottish register using freedom of information laws.

All ministers must declare “all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict in relation to their Ministerial office”.

The list “should also cover interests of the Minister’s spouse or partner and close family which might be thought to give rise to a conflict”.

Declarations include:

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: “A share of a house in Portugal is owned by my husband but is not leased or rented out and so I would not consider it relevant to Ministerial interests.”

Scottish Green minister Patrick Harvie: “I have previously taken part in a number of nonviolence direct action protests, and have once been convicted of breach of the peace in relation to such a protest.”

It also reveals that Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has been forced to recuse himself from key decisions on alcohol and a proposed advertising ban as his wife’s PR company promotes whisky.

Spey Media Ltd, set up by his wife in 2016, has clients including the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, several distilleries, and a whisky auctioneer.

‘There’s no point in keeping this secret’

And Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth is unable to make decisions about dualling one stretch of the A9 because of a potential conflict of interest caused by a family member.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes did not record her church membership as a potential conflict of interest despite other ministers recording theirs.

Leadership rival and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf declared: “My sister is a practising pharmacist. A part of my extended family I have 3 cousins who are dentists in Scotland, two of whom are practice owners.”

Carole Ewart, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland, said: “There’s no point in gathering this kind of information then keeping it secret.

“I applaud the efforts of the Herald to bring this to the public’s attention and making sure that it is now regularly published to show that the rules are being followed.”

Top picture: Sunny Portugal where Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell has a house.

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