No charges against Grahame

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MIDLOTHIAN South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame will not face criminal proceedings over allegations by her former aide Mark Hirst that she misused election expenses.

In November, the Crown Office confirmed it was looking into his claims over Ms Grahame’s use of funds during her election campaign last year.

Last month, the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body (SBCB) concluded she had breached the reimbursment of members’ expenses scheme and expressed its “strong disapproval”.

But save for that censure and a request she ensures no further misuse of resources, the SPCB did not refer the case for further action.

On Friday, a Crown Office spokesman said: “Following a referral from the Electoral Commission to the procurator fiscal in respect of Christine Grahame MSP, relating to possible breaches of the Scottish Parliament Order 2010, the procurator fiscal instructed Lothian and Borders Police to carry out an investigation into the allegations.

“The results of the investigation were reported for the consideration of crown counsel, who decided that no proceedings should be taken.”

A spokesperson for Ms Grahame said: “Ms Grahame is pleased that, once again, Mr Hirst’s complaints have been rejected. Having made complaints to numerous bodies and in the media, Mr Hirst has now seen those complaints repeatedly dismissed.

“Ms Grahame simply wishes to point out once again that Mr Hirst is a former employee who has admitted himself that he is ‘disgruntled’, who secretly recorded his employer and who was dismissed [in September 2011] for gross misconduct.

“Mr Hirst has now indicated his intention to take his case to an employment tribunal. As such, Ms Grahame has no further comment to make at this time.”

Mr Hirst, said the Crown Office decision not to proceed was “curious given that the SPCB has already found Ms Grahame guilty of misusing parliamentary resources...in support of her election campaign”.