MSP Freemason threatens to defy law
Thursday, 3 October, 2002
A Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament has said he would consider breaking the law rather than register the fact he is a Freemason.
Phil Gallie MSP - speaking during a Holyrood debate on parliamentary standards - said he had been a Freemason since the 1950s.
He described proposed legislation on MSP's interests as "a Nonsense Act".
He said: "I can tell you now that I will not be declaring in the Parliamentary register my involvement with the Freemasons.
Planned legislation is "a nonsense act"
He was asked by a Labour backbencher if he would break the law if the standards Bill is passed.
Mr Gallie replied: "That's a decision I will take at a future occasion."
For the SNP, Tricia Marwick MSP said Mr Gallie's stance was "appalling".
MSPs debated a series of changes to parliamentary standards involving complaints, members' interests and lobbying.
The convener of Holyrood's standards committee warned fellow MSPs not to resort to dirty tricks during the forthcoming election campaign.
Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles said the committee would "not tolerate" MSPs giving advance notice of complaints against fellow members to the media.
He said: "As this first session of the new Parliament draws to a close, the political temperature over the next few months will inevitably rise.
"I want to make it abundantly clear that the Standards Committee does not wish to see the forthcoming election campaign being fought through the complaints process.
"We will not tolerate allegations made by political rivals being trailed in the media."
Members of the Holyrood parliament have also been urged to back plans for a statutory register of commercial lobbyists.
Mr Rumbles said lobbying could help MSPs become better informed on a range of issues and to engage with different sections of society.