Politicians set to block payoff to anti-gay marriage wife-beating MSP
MSPs are set to move to block politician Bill Walker, who was last week found guilty of almost three decades of domestic abuse, and who has in the past voiced strong opposition to gay rights, including comparing gay rights campaigners to Nazis, from receiving a £30,000 resettlement grant when he leaves the Scottish Parliament.
Bill Walker, 71, MSP for Dunfermline, was last week found guilty of 23 charges of assault, and one breach of the peace at several addresses in Edinburgh, Stirling, Midlothian and Alloa. The incidents took place between 1967 and 1995.
Sentencing has been deferred to 20 September.
Walker, who could face jail for the offences, will receive a £29,048 resettlement grant if he is able to hang on to the next election. If he resigns from the Scottish Parliament before then, he will not be entitled to the payment.
Despite being found guilty, Walker does not look likely to quit his seat.
A former SNP member for Dunfermline, a seat he won in 2011, which would automatically go to a by-election if he is jailed for over a year, Walker was kicked out of the SNP following the allegations of abuse.
Willie Rennie, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, has said he will ask for legal advice on how to block Walker from “profiting” from Holyrood.
He said: “If he took his resettlement grant, it would be another insult on top of the many others. I am still hoping he will stand down from parliament soon as he has been found guilty and needs to go.
“However, if he digs in, we need to seek the best legal advice on whether he can be denied the grant. We can’t have wife-beaters profiting from parliament.”
The resettlement grant, equal to half of the MSP salary, is designed to help politicians who stand down, or fail to be re-elected, to return to life outside of parliament.
If Walker quits now, he will be entitled to an annual pension of £2904, however if he hangs on until the next election in May 2016, he will receieve £7262.
Sheriff Katherine Mackie found Walker guilty of all charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. She said the evidence brought against him found him to be controlling, domineering, demeaning and belittling towards his three ex-wives