John Park MSP resigns to take up trade union role. AN MSP who helped a victim of a sequestration scandal involving agents acting for Scotland’s Accountant in Bankruptcy has surprised many by announcing his sudden resignation from the Scottish Parliament to take up a trade union role. MSP John Park, who represented Mid Scotland & Fife for Scottish Labour, and was the party’s Chief Whip, has resigned his seat effective 7th December and will be replaced by Jayne Baxter, who currently represents the Cowdenbeath ward on Fife Council.
Mr Park, who has formally notified the Presiding Officer, will work for the Community trade union as policy and strategy director.
Mr Park issued a statement, saying : “Representing the people of Mid Scotland and Fife has been an enormous privilege and I am really grateful to have had that opportunity. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and Labour Party members for the support they have given me. “This is a decision that I have not made lightly and I now have the opportunity to represent thousands of workers across the UK.
“I've tried to use my time in politics to make sure the issues important to working people – jobs, apprenticeships and a living wage – are centre stage. Now, as workers are under attack like never before, I am returning to my union roots to fight at the coal face.
“I wish Johann - who has been a good friend to me and all my friends in the Labour group - the very best for the referendum and upcoming elections. I am a strong Labour supporter who loves my country, so will be campaigning shoulder to shoulder with them in the months and years ahead.
“I would also like to thank Holyrood officials and my own staff who are undoubtedly the most dedicated group of people I have ever met. Their support and assistance has been invaluable.
The surprise resignation comes a little less than three weeks after Scottish Law Reporter reported on Mr Park’s continuing assistance to a Perth man caught up in a bitter sequestration battle which mushroomed into a scandal revealing huge multi million pound contracts awarded by the SNP Scottish Government to Scottish accountancy firms who act as ‘agents’ for the Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Mr Park had given significant help to his constiuent, Mr William Gordon of Perth, who had been the target of a sequestration ordered by Perth law firm Kippen Campbell in a dispute over fees, even though the law firm had left him standing on the steps of the Court of Session without legal representation in a medical damages claim.
Scottish Law Reporter further reported that Mr Park had been asked to query the contracts in the Scottish Parliament, and call for their cancellation after it transpired some of the firms, including Wylie & Bisset, the firm involved in the sequestration of Mr Gordon, were unlawfully freezing state benefits payments to victims of long term disabilities & illnesses.
However, when it became clear Mr Park was being asked to look into the issue, media agents for the Scottish National Party began distributing Press Releases calling for explanations from Mr Park over a 2009 incident in which the SNP had alleged Mr Park had paid a sum of money into a printing firm started by a Labour researcher.
Political insiders have tonight said the SNP wanted to force out Mr Park, and pointed to the recent “dredging up” of the years old accusations relating to the printing business as a factor in Mr Park’s sudden resignation. A former SNP spin doctor pointed to reports on a website Newsnet Scotland from 2001 and October 2012, the former of which was picked up by “The Courier” newspaper in February 2011 and reported HERE.
An insider said “Calls for scrutiny of the SNP’s hand-out of millions to law firms & accountants seems to be behind the SNP’s recent dredging up of the printing firm case so you can be sure there is a lot to hide over Mr Salmond’s handing of eight million pounds of taxpayers money to six firms of accountants.”
However, questions are now surfacing about links between accounting firms who have been handed millions of pounds of public money by the Scottish Government and SNP MSPs as well as others working for the party.
Speaking about the AIB contract fiasco, a Holyrood insider described the “questionable deals” with the agents as being “unnecessary”.
He also questioned why the Accountant in Bankruptcy requires to hire out so many private accountants while having a staff approaching 100 at it’s plush office in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire.