Willie Rennie has written to Bill Walker, the MSP for Dunfermline who was convicted of 23 instances of assault against 3 ex wives and a stepdaughter over a 28 year period to ask him to resign his seat in the Scottish Parliament. Here’s his letter in full:
I am sure that you will be aware of the demands for your resignation from the Scottish Parliament from both members of the public and Members of the Scottish Parliament.
I was disappointed to read news reports that you are not planning to leave Parliament.
You will know that, unlike others, I did not call for you to resign before the judgement of the court as I strongly believe in innocence until proven guilty. But now you have been found guilty I believe it is time for you to go.
It would be untenable for you to remain as a public representative after being found guilty on twenty three counts. Firstly, it would send the wrong message about domestic violence to the victims and the perpetrators. Secondly, I cannot see how you can perform the duties of a MSP when many of your constituents are already turning to other parliamentarians for assistance because of the conviction.
Even if you plan to appeal the conviction the right thing to do would be to stand down during that process rather than undermine the institution you were so proud to be elected to in May 2011.
You will have entered politics to do what you believed to be the right thing. I am asking you now to do the right thing and resign.
Mike Crockart MP has also put down an Early Day Motion at Westminster which has been signed by most Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs who are eligible – Moore, Alexander, Swinson and Carmichael are all ministers so they don’t generally sign EDMs. It is short and to the point:
That this House believes that Bill Walker MSP should vacate his seat in the Scottish Parliament immediately.