Row flares over wife-beater’s election to Scottish parliament

Opposition parties have called on the SNP to further investigate the circumstances surrounding disgraced MSP Bill Walker’s election to Holyrood.

Walker, who was convicted of a string of domestic abuse charges, bowed to pressure and stood down from his position as MSP for Dunfermline.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has urged the SNP to commission an independent inquiry into Walker’s selection as a candidate for the party, while Labour wants the party to publish all the information it possessed on any allegations against him.

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Campaigners and the majority of MSPs had been calling on the 71-year-old to step down since he was found guilty of 23 charges against his ex-wives.

Walker was convicted following a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

The former SNP MSP, who was ejected from the party when the allegations surfaced, denied the charges.

He is due to be sentenced later this month.

Mr Rennie said: “The SNP had been told of the allegations about Bill Walker but allowed him to continue to represent them on the council, as a candidate and ultimately in our Parliament.

“We need to know how this was allowed to happen.”

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Labour’s Graeme Pearson said: “We know a member of Bill Walker’s family told (SNP Deputy Leader) Nicola Sturgeon’s staff about the sort of man he is.”

An SNP spokesman said the party’s president, Ian Hudghton MEP, carried out a review of its assessment procedures following Walker’s expulsion last year.

“As a result, changes have since been made to our internal procedures to ensure that in future any relevant information about a potential candidate – whether backed by hard evidence or not – is passed to the Election Committee,” he said.