FORMER SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh received a fine of £3000 at a disciplinary hearing after a dramatic intervention by Commons Speaker John Bercow.

The Law Society of Scotland said Ahmed-Sheikh and her business partner Niall Mickel failed to keep proper accounts of a trust set up in May 2012, borrowed sums from the trust when it was not in the practice of lending money and that their actions constituted a conflict of interest.

After the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal found Ahmed-Sheikh guilty of professional misconduct – the Law Society had already agreed there was no dishonesty or impropriety on her part – Ahmed-Sheikh’s lawyer Dorothy Bain QC read a reference in mitigation from Bercow.

The Speaker wrote of National columnist Ahmed-Sheikh as “an individual of the highest integrity” and praised her work for women’s equality and the rights of the disabled and people from minority ethnic communities.

Tribunal chair Nicholas Whyte made no comment as he announced the censure and £3000 fine on both solicitors at the end of the two day hearing in Perth.

Ahmed-Sheikh had already accepted that there were record keeping failures as she did not realise that the trust should have been treated as client which requires different accounting procedures. Both she and Mickel were also found by the tribunal to have had a conflict of interest between their roles in the management of Hamilton Burns and their administration of the trust.

A source close to Ahmed-Sheikh said: “It should be noted that the tribunal accepted Ahmed-Sheikh’s plea of misconduct but decided under the circumstances not to impose a large fine or a striking off.”

The Law Society told the tribunal: “It is also important to stress to the tribunal that whilst the Second Respondent [Ahmed-Sheikh] is accepting the accounting failures that were present during her tenure as a partner and cashroom manager, there is no suggestion at all of dishonestly or impropriety on her part in relation to the intromissions with the funds from the trust ledger.”

Speaking after the hearing Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said: “I am relieved that finally I have been able to have my say in front of this tribunal.

"For nearly two years I have had to endure smear and innuendo and during the election campaign of 2017 a series of leaks suggested that I was being charged with financial impropriety and that funds had been taken from a vulnerable individual.

"Now it is admitted on all sides that there was no impropriety whatsoever and the trust has suffered no loss whatsoever.

She continued: “I am pleased that the tribunal has decided to impose the lower penalty of censure rather striking off. This indicates that our arguments carried substantial weight with the tribunal.

“I am more than satisfied that it is now accepted on all sides that there is no challenge to my personal integrity.”

Niall Mickel told The National: “The important point is that we both been entirely cleared of all charges of dishonesty and impropriety.”