Salmond refuses to publish his diaries in food row
Published Date: 04 June 2009
ALEX Salmond yesterday refused to publish his diaries as the row over his Westminster food expenses intensified.
The First Minister claimed £400 a month for the two months of the summer recess of 2005, money he claims was spent buying food in London.But it emerged earlier this week that Mr Salmond had spent a large part of September 2005 in Scotland, at the
SNP conference, campaigning in two by-elections and at press conferences.His political opponents said there was now so much confusion over his claims that Mr Salmond should publish his diaries to show exactly how many days he was in London.Scottish Conservatives' leader Annabel Goldie tried to ask Mr Salmond about his food expenses during First Minister's Questions yesterday, but she was prevented from doing so by the presiding officer, Alex Fergusson. He ruled that questions about Westminster expenses fell outside the remit of the Scottish Parliament.Afterwards, Miss Goldie demanded that Mr Salmond reveal exactly when he was in London during summer 2005. A spokesman for the First Minister said Mr Salmond had no intention of publishing his diaries. Instead, he would place all the relevant information before the independent audit into MPs' expenses, and he was "totally confident" he would be completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.Meanwhile, Lord Archy Kirkwood, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, was dragged into the expenses scandal.The Daily Telegraph reported that he claimed £5,000 in the 2004-5 financial year to do up his London flat, before selling it "on the cheap" to his daughter.The claims were made despite his announcement in 2004 that he would step down as an MP at the next election, which took place in 2005.Overall, he claimed £18,806 of public money for the property. He then sold the flat to his daughter, Holly, a journalist with Country Life, for £100,000 in 2007, despite originally paying £182,500 for it and having it valued at £225,000. Lord Kirkwood said he had the flat professionally valued and declared it for capital gains tax, but there were costs for replacing wiring and a fusebox, which were unsafe, and for relaying the floor.