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Council / Councillor Thomson censured for failing to keep his register of interests up to date

The hearing of the Standards Commission was held virtually.

A LOCAL councillor has been censured by the Standards Commission for Scotland after admitting a breach of the councillors’ code of conduct for failing to keep his register of interests up to date.

Though severely criticised for his conduct, councillor Ryan Thomson was not suspended and can continue to represent the North Isles and act in the senior roles as chairman of the transport and environment committee as well as ZetTrans.

During a short virtual hearing streamed in the commission’s YouTube channel on Thursday morning, the breaches were described as “technical” and not premeditated.

The councillor admitted the breaches and described these as an oversight despite regular reminders from Shetland Islands Council to all councillors to keep their register of interests up to date.

The panel heard that councillor Thomson had made no financial gains from failing to update his register when the company he was a director and shareholder of changed its name from Shetland Convenience Stores Limited to R&L Thomson (Shetland) Trading Limited on 9 May 2018.

Announcing the decision of the short hearing, its chairman Paul Walker said Thomson had co-operated fully with investigations and had offered an unreserved apology in respect to the failure of registering the interest.

SIC councillor Ryan ThomsonSIC councillor Ryan Thomson. Photo: Shetland News

“The panel had no reason to doubt that the respondent’s [councillor Thomson] failure to comply with the code was inadvertent and an oversight. The panel emphasises however that the requirement for councillors to register interests is a fundamental requirement of the code.”

Speaking after the decision, Thomson said: “Although I did so inadvertently, I have contravened the code of conduct, something which I take extremely seriously.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the complainer, Ms Johan Adamson, who was clearly offended enough to warrant issuing a complaint to the Ethical Standards Officer. It’s absolutely essential that all councillors follow the code at all times.

“Today, the Standards Commission issued me with a censure, for which I accept and will not appeal.

“I will now continue to try and do my best for my constituents in the position I am humbled and honoured to hold for the remainder of this council term.”

Meanwhile, Kenneth Wilson Patullo and Kenneth Robert Craig of Dundee-based Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP have been appointed as liquidators to wind up R&L Thomson (Shetland) Trading Limited under the Insolvency Act.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021