A row is brewing over allegations that the SNP used ‘short money’ – taxpayer’s cash given to opposition parties for parliamentary activities only – to fund a trip to New York City. Reports say four SNP MPs – Paul Monaghan, Joanna Cherry, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Corri Wilson – travelled to the big apple on the public purse. Foreign trips by MPs are common, but questions are being asked as short money is subject to strict rules saying travel expenses must be incurred only “in relation to the party’s parliamentary business”. Concerns were raised when the MPs were spotted holding an SNP banner during the city’s Tartan Day Parade…
The Scottish Daily Mail reports that the SNP has refused to release the full itinerary for the trip. Paul Monaghan and Corri Wilson do not hold a front bench portfolios. Joanna Cherry is SNP Spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is SNP International Trade spokesperson. Have they been undertaking activities relevant to the party’s parliamentary business or to their remit?
Thursday April 6 – Group begins to arrive in NYC. Joanna Cherry travels from Montreal:
Friday 7th April – Attending launch of a musical album at the exclusive private members Norwood Club, Manhattan:
Saturday 8th April – Visiting the New York Times building
Saturday 8th April – Attending a reception at the St Andrew’s Society of New York State with Nicola Sturgeon
Sunday 9th April – Meet UN bodies: UNDP, UN Women and UN Youth Envoy
Sunday 9th April – Attending a ceilidh at the New York Caledonian Club
Sunday 9th April – Attending the Tartan Day brunch
Sunday 9th April – Waving an SNP banner at the New York Tartan Day Parade
This is not a complete timeline and is not necessarily indicative of the substance of the entire trip. That remains unknown…
An SNP spokesman said the MPs were “representing the SNP Westminster Group” and that the trip consisted of:
“High level talks with representatives from UN Women, UNDP and UN Youth Envoy discussing work on gender and equalities, people living with disabilities, and international youth engagement”.
The MPs now appear to be back in the UK…