Cranston falls short in bid to back up ‘exonerated’ claim

Hawick Rugby Trust's Alastair Cranston
Hawick Rugby Trust's Alastair Cranston

Councillor Alistair Cranston this week failed to back up repeated claims that he was “completely exonerated” by the standards watchdog following his expenses furore earlier this year.

Instead he produced a statement put together by Scottish Borders Council in June this year which stated that the commissioner was taking no further action, claiming an “investigation not to be in the public interest, with the matter having already been covered by the council’s own internal investigation”.

The statement also said: “The council will remind Councillor Cranston of what he is entitled to claim and have ensured he is aware of the relevant guidance for members on allowances”

Mr Cranston did confirm that he had not submitted expenses claims from July 2014 until February 2015 which explains why these claims are missing from the council’s website and are unavaiable for public scrutiny.

Despite the town’s five remaining councillors being up to date with their expenses claims, Mr Cranston’s claims since June this year are also missing from the SBC website.

Explaining this, the SNP councillor said: “I will be submitting my expenses forms by Friday, October 30, covering from July 1 2015 to September 30 2015. All claims I have submitted so far are complete and up to June 31 2015.”

Mr Cranston hit the local and national newspaper headlines last year when he attempted to claim £6.45 expenses to attend Councillor Zandra Elliot’s funeral. It
was also revealed that Mr Cranston had almost 50 expenses claims rejected the council.

Asked if he thought the council’s statement backed up his “complete exoneration” claims, Mr Cranston failed to respond.