THE former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has been fined £3000 at a disciplinary hearing which heard a dramatic intervention by Commons Speaker John Bercow.

The Law Society of Scotland said Ahmed-Sheikh, pictured, and 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 a 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 – her 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 disabled people and people from minority ethnic communities. Tribunal chair Nicholas Whyte made no comment as he announced the censure and £3000 fine for both solicitors after a two-day hearing in Perth.

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

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

Ahmed-Sheikh said: “For nearly two years I have had to endure smear and innuendo and during the election campaign of 2017 a series of leaks suggested 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.”