LOCAL MSP Christine Grahame has denied she only complied with Scottish Parliamentary guidelines, which ban the use of party-political signage at constituency offices, after adverse press coverage.
Last week we reported that the Bank Street office in Galashiels of the SNP member for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, had been repainted, with all vestiges of party affiliation removed, “within two days” of a story in the national media (the Daily Mail), published between Christmas and New Year, highlighting that the deadline for compliance had been set at September 1, 2011, by the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB).
But Ms Grahame said this week that the repainting had taken place before she was aware of the newspaper story.
“Indeed, the process had been put in place in October when I set about obtaining competitive quotes from two local firms,” she told us.
“Thereafter we had to wait till the weather was clement enough to allow woodwork to dry out. The [SNP] logo on the window, because it had been merely affixed, had been removed months before.
“In August/September, I was considering other premises in Galashiels and so repainting was not started as it would have been a waste of money.
“As there was nothing better than the current premises, I decided to stay put.”
Ms Grahame said that the first estimates for the work were asked for at the beginning of October with quotes of £385 accepted by a local firm of painters and £260 for the installation of signage.
Additional expense and delay arose because the painters noted the woodwork would have to be replaced. The signage was finally erected “around December 22/23”.
Ms Grahame added that the cost of the required work, as for all MSPs with offices, was met from her office allowance which is capped and had resulted in no additional cost to the taxpayer.