Cranston in breach of code of conduct

Councillor Alastair Cranston
Councillor Alastair Cranston
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Councillor Alistair Cranston has been found guilty by the Standards Commission of using his role as a councillor to promote his business interests.

And despite this week telling a rival newpaper that the investigation was ongoing, SNP member Mr Cranston told the Hawick News on Wednesday that he was now facing disciplinary action following a lengthy investigation.

Mr Cranston said the standards commissioner had written to him on July 16 to inform him of the findings, adding: “I would be reluctant to use the word guilty, I have contravened the guidelines of what is acceptable in public life.”

The complaint focused on what many saw as Mr Cranston’s non-declaration of interests in his constant attempts to promote anaerobic digestion at various council meetings.

And only last week a press release from the offices of Scottish Borders Housing Association, of which Mr Cranston is a board member, announced it was supporting a feasibility study into a green energy plant at Burnfoot.

Commenting further, Mr Cranston revealed that Ian Wilkie, a respected former standards officer at Scottish Borders Council, had taken him aside on several occasions and warned him about his conduct.

“I have been very naive and I suppose you could even say ignorant but that is no defence. This investigation has lasted several months now and I will just have to wait and see what happens. I do not want to comment on possible sanctions,” said Mr Cranston.

Informed that he may be looking at a suspension of up to one year or possible disqualification, Mr Cranston added: “I can’t comment on that.”

And he added further: “I genuinely do not think I have done anything wrong. I never though this was an issue. I’ll have to weigh up the future and deal with any punishment. There has been no financial gain whatsoever. If I have to, I can, and will, prove that.”

In his SBC register of interests, Mr Cranston is listed as a director of Economic Recycling Services which is involved in community and business waste recycling, including the provision of “local anaerobic digestion biogas facilities”, and also has an agency contract with AgriKomp which specialises in “energy generation from Biogas”.