MSPs have voted to exclude Maggie Chapman from attending one committee session after she was found to have breached code of conduct rules.

Last week, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) Committee ruled that Chapman did not declare a registered interest during a session of the Equalities Committee on May 31 2022.

During a session where MSPs were questioning the CEO of Rape Crisis while the Gender Recognition (Scotland) Reform legislation was being scrutinised, Chapman did not declare that she previously held the post of chief operating officer at Edinburgh Rape Crisis.

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Chapman was reported to the SPPA committee, who agreed that her sanction should be the exclusion from the first meeting of the Equalities Committee after the motion was agreed.

The SPPA’s convener, Labour MSP Martin Whitfield, moved a motion in Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon to finalise the sanction.

“Given the statutory underpinning of much of the code, we must as parliamentarians, we must as lawmakers, take the rules seriously and adhere to them,” he told MSPs.

“We concluded, unanimously, that Maggie Chapman MSP failed to declare a registered financial interest.

“Namely the remuneration she received by virtue of her employment as the chief operating officer of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre during the proceedings relating to that registered financial interest.”

Chapman asked Rape Crisis CEO Sandy Brindley about the network of rape crisis centres across Scotland, without declaring that she had a registered financial interest in her previous role.

“That transparency, which is central to the understanding of any interests that could influence us as MSPs, was not there.”

Scottish Greens MSPs intervened, describing Chapman’s breach as “inadvertent”, and asked why the committee departed so significantly from precedent” in case of the sanction, compared to other MSPs who had breached rules but not been punished.

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“The committee is not required to follow the rules of precedent,” Whitfield said.

Alexander Stewart, Scottish Tory MSP, said the unanimous decision of the SPPA committee should be “respected”.

Rhoda Grant, speaking for Scottish Labour, said that the penalty proposed is not “overly detrimental” but serves as a reminder for MSPs to be “meticulous” in registering and declaring interests.

Mark Ruskell, speaking on behalf of the Scottish Greens (pictured below), said the group respects the decision of the SPPA committee, and says they do not wish to “reopen that decision”.

The National: Mark Ruskell speaking in Holyrood.

“However, we struggle to agree with the decision to impose a sanction, because this goes against the recent precedent set by this parliament in dealing with omissions to declare a financial interest.

“Since the start of session 5 in 2016, the SPPA have upheld five complaints against members relating to a failure to declare a financial interest, and only one of these resulted in a sanction.

“In that case the member in question had asked parliamentary questions on an issue they held a live financial interest in, and could have potentially benefited financially from the outcome.

“It was also the second time a complaint was upheld against them, on the same issue. The first time resulting in no sanction.”

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Ruskell said in a more recent case an MSP failed to declare “substantial” gifts from a lobbying firm, with the SPPA concluding that the “finding of a breach is sanction enough”.

Chapman, Ruskell pointed out, had left her employment as COO of Edinburgh rape crisis and it was not a live interest.

The MSP said he had concerns that the sanction sets a “precedent for declaring past employment” and suggests that members are tied to their previous employers for an “indefinite period”.

Ruskell said that if the motion is approved then it will have implications for all members who will have to review their registers of interests.

The motion was passed with 99 votes for Yes, 11 for No and one abstention.