You can read it below.
As you may have seen, I was splashed across the front page of the Sunday Express at the weekend with the headline ‘Second SNP MP in probe’.
The allegation was that my small business and I were under investigation and subject to a probe by Trading Standards. A potentially serious allegation.
It also noted that I had resigned as a Director from my small company the day after the minor complaint was made against the company. The inference they attempted to make is clear.
I can confirm that there is no investigation, and I have the proof – in a response from Trading Standards I received today.
I have awaited the evidence before countering these malicious allegations in public. We knew them to be false on Sunday but could not stop the story being published.
In the email from Trading Standards I reproduce below, I asked for confirmation of 6 statements of fact. Trading Standards responses are denoted by ‘A’ and are below my questions.
Thank you for your email.
Responses to your points below with an ‘A’ beside them.
1. Can you confirm that neither my company nor I are under investigation or subject to any probe by Trading Standards?
A – Trading Standards have confirmed this to be the case.
2. Can you confirm that you received a log of one issue against my business and made the recommendation that that customer write to my business to resolve the issue?
A – Trading Standards received a notification of a consumer complaint from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline that required no further action by this service. The consumer had been given civil advice by the helpline and the complaint closed.
3. Can you confirm that Trading Standards received notification of the issue on Wednesday 14th October?
A – Yes, this is correct.
4. Can you confirm that the Express called you to enquire about this on the same day Wednesday 14th October?
A – The Daily Express first made the enquiry on Friday 9 October. No response was issued by Dumfries and Galloway Council. The Daily Express submitted their enquiry for a second time on Wednesday 14 October.
5. Can you confirm that Trading Standards, in the circumstances, had no intention of contacting me about the issue and did not contact me?
A – The complaint had been closed by the CA Helpline before notification to this service therefore no action was deemed necessary. The CA Helpline provided civil law advice to the consumer.
6. Can you confirm that the first contact between Trading Standards and myself was the conversation I had with your offices in Friday 16th October after I called your offices to discuss the matter.
A – Yes, this is correct.
Dumfries and Galloway Council
The response from Trading Standards makes clear that there is no investigation and that I had not been in contact with Trading Standards until after I resigned as a director.
I will be lodging a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) tomorrow.
Needless to say this had not been a pleasant experience. The allegations are fictitious in the extreme. The most frustrating aspect is how much time it has taken from the job I was elected to do, which is to help the people of Dumfries and Galloway.
We will of course keep an eye out for the paper’s correction, which we anticipate being published in a tiny postage-stamp-sized corner of an inside page some time from now. In the meantime, we suspect readers will agree it deserves a more prominent position.