Nicola Sturgeon refuses to suspend Tasmina AhmedSheikh over legal watchdog investigation

first_imgNicola Sturgeon has refused to suspend a senior SNP politician after it emerged she is under investigation by a legal watchdog for alleged professional misconduct.Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, one of the 56 SNP MPs elected in the 2015 general election, is the subject of an inquiry by The Law Society of Scotland over her former career as a lawyer.She asked voters this week to re-elect her on June 8 as the Nationalist candidate for Ochil and South Perthshire, and said she was “co-operating fully” with the inquiry.However, opposition parties have called on the First Minister to suspend the prominent candidate.James Kelly, Scottish Labour’s campaign manager, has written to Ms Sturgeon, saying: “Any investigation by The Law Society is so serious that, if confirmed, the SNP must immediately suspend Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.“The voters in Ochil and South Perthshire need immediate answers. They cannot go to the polls without all the information being made available to them.”Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservative MSP, said that just four weeks from the election, the voters needed an “immediate explanation”. “In the meantime, I’m getting on with fighting this election campaign and seeking re-election to stand up for the people of Ochil and South Perthshire.”According to the Scottish Daily Mail, the inquiry relates to alleged professional misconduct during her time as a partner at the Glasgow law firm Hamilton Burns, which she was involved in setting up in 2001. She was one of two directors and resigned shortly after becoming an MP.Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh, a mother-of-four and former Bollywood star, has played a prominent role as an MP, is a close ally of Alex Salmond and sits on her party’s national executive committee as women and equalities officer.She took the Ochil and South Perthshire seat from Labour as the SNP won 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats two years ago and has had a varied political career.She was previously a Conservative, standing against Nicola Sturgeon in the 1999 Holyrood election. She then resigned from the party in 2000 and briefly joined Labour before settling on the SNP. Mrs Ahmed-Sheikh said she was aware that “issues have been raised with the Law Society in relation to administrative matters during my time at my former firm”.She added: “The Law Society has a duty to uphold professional standards and they must be allowed to do so without prejudice.  tasmina ahmed-sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh on the campaign trail in 2015Credit:Getty The SNP previously suspended two of its 56 MPs. Michelle Thomson, the Edinburgh West MP, had the party whip withdrawn after Police Scotland launched an inquiry into property dealings and Natalie McGarry, the Glasgow East MP, was suspended aNfter a police inquiry into claims that money was missing from the Women for Independence group which she co-founded. Both women have confirmed they are not standing in the general election. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Alex Salmond joins the candidate in 2015Credit:Getty Mr Kelly said: “Given the previous scandal surrounding Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson, it is clear that there are serious problems with the SNP’s candidate vetting process.”A spokesman for the SNP said: “The party is aware that administrative matters relating to Tasmina’s time at her former firm are being looked into. Hundreds of issues are raised with the Law Society every year and it is right that they investigate them. She has co-operated fully and is continuing her campaign to be a strong voice for the people of Ochil and South Perthshire.”The Law Society of Scotland said it had no comment to make. tasmina ahmed-sheikh He added: “It would be utterly unacceptable for the SNP to try and brush this under the carpet. For once, they need to be straight with people.“If an investigation has been launched, then the SNP should do exactly as they did with their former MP Michelle Thomson and suspend Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh immediately.”However, the SNP candidate said in a statement that she was proud of her 17-year legal career and would continue to campaign as the party’s candidate.last_img

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