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Father And Daughter Politicians In Ethics Row
A father and daughter political duo are at the centre of an ethics row after a failure to declare property on a register of interests.
MSP Richard Lyle and councillor Marina Lyle now face the prospect of an inquiry by Scotland’s standards watchdog, which has the power to censure, suspend or even disqualify councillors.
It is understood a complaint is being made to the Standards Commission for Scotland this weekend.
Lyle, the SNP MSP for Uddingston & Bellshill, and his wife Marion gifted ownership of their family home to their two children for “love, favour and affection” in March 2012.
The two-storey terraced property on Bracken Street, Motherwell, was shared 50-50 between daughter Marina Lyle and her brother Vincent, according to land registry records.
The house next door sold for £76,000 last year, suggesting each half is worth around £40,000.
However Marina, who became an SNP councillor in North Lanarkshire two months after the transfer, never declared the property in her register of interests.
Under Section 4.18 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, they must publicly register an interest when they “own or have any other right or interest in houses, land and buildings, such as being an owner or a tenant, including Council tenant”.
Thirty of the 69 councillors in North Lanarkshire register a half or part share in a house, ten of them in the 22-strong SNP group, including SNP group leader David Stocks.
Yet despite the rules and the example of her fellow councillors, Marina did not declare her share in the Bracken Street home, where her parents still live as “life renters” – free to use the property but no longer able to sell it.
She now lives in a council house in North Lanarkshire. Tenants are also required to declare if they own property.
Before he became an MSP in 2011 Richard Lyle was a councillor for 36 years in Lanarkshire. Indeed, Marina Lyle won the Bellshill seat vacated by her father in 2012.
She is now being tipped to replace Stocks as SNP group leader on the council after next year’s local elections.
Her father is already one of the most controversial figures in the SNP because of his central role in the so-called 'Monklands McMafia' row which has blighted the party in Lanarkshire.
An SNP old guard associated with him is engaged in a power struggle with a new clique around Coatbridge & Chryston MP Phil Boswell, with allegations of bullying, intimidation and smears flying between the two sides.
In January this year, a secret recording of an SNP meeting in Coatbridge revealed members calling each other “animals”, “misogynist” and “racist”, and the seat’s Holyrood candidate Fulton MacGregor – now an MSP – complaining the feuding had made him physically “sick”.
A month later SNP National Secretary Patrick Grady suspended the Coatbridge & Chryston branch, citing “a culture of mistrust”, a “toxic” environment and “intolerable” discord.
A Labour spokesman said: “Nicola Sturgeon must be sick of seeing the Lanarkshire branches of the SNP in the headlines. In the last year we have seen allegations of racism, misogyny, improper use of expenses and now a lack of transparency in registering property. They look like a party at each other’s throats rather than one ready to fight cuts to local communities."
Marina Lyle did not respond to calls or emails from the newspaper.
An SNP spokesperson said: “Cllr Lyle registered her interests in line with advice given by council officials at the time."