Bill Walker (Scottish nationalist politician)

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Bill Walker
BillWalkerMSP20110720.jpg
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Dunfermline
In office
6 May 2011 – 7 September 2013
Preceded by Jim Tolson
as MSP for Dunfermline West
Succeeded by Cara Hilton
Majority 590
Personal details
Born William George Walker
31 March 1942
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Independent (since April 2012)
Scottish National Party (before April 2012)
Alma mater University of Edinburgh

William George "Bill" Walker (born 31 March 1942) is a Scottish politician who served as a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Dunfermline constituency from 2011 until his resignation in 2013. He was elected as a Scottish National Party (SNP) member but was expelled from the party in 2012 and then served as an Independent Member.

In 2013, he was convicted of 23 charges of domestic violence, and then resigned as an MSP following pressure from other politicians and the press.[1]

Career[edit]

Walker attended the old Royal High School in Edinburgh. He obtained a First Class Honours BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh and a Postgraduate Certificate in Computer Programming from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Edinburgh Management School.[2][3]

He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.[citation needed]

He served as a councillor on Fife Council from 2007 until 2012. In May 2011, he was elected MSP for the Dunfermline Scottish Parliament constituency, gaining the seat for the Scottish National Party.

Political life[edit]

Walker took a broadly left-wing stance. He spoke about wealth redistribution and advocated universal social care for the disabled and infirm.

As an MSP, he was consistently an advocate for Scottish independence and the regeneration of Dunfermline,[4] Scotland's former capital city, and its environs.

While serving as a West Fife and Coastal Villages Councillor, Walker was a member of Fife Council's Environment, Enterprise & Transportation Committee from 2007-12. He remains a supporter of local businesses.

In August 2011, Walker criticised proposals to legalise same-sex marriage in Scotland.[5] He remains a supporter of civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Walker is a staunch advocate of renewable energy[6] and has a keen interest in hydro energy and marine generation of electricity. In October 2011, he expressed dismay at the UK Government’s decision to U-turn on its support for the Carbon Capture and Storage project in Longannet Power Station[7] in his constituency. He claimed the UK Government had let Longannet down "appallingly".

Personal life[edit]

Walker was born in Edinburgh. He married long-term partner, June, shortly after his election as an MSP in 2011. In March 2012, the Sunday Herald [8] claimed his three previous marriages had ended with allegations of violent behaviour towards his wives. On 4 March, the Scottish National Party suspended him for allegedly not declaring similar claims cited in no-contest divorce actions dating back many years.

Walker was adamant that he filled in his forms correctly and denied all allegations relating to his ex-wives. He maintained that he has been the subject of a smear campaign.[9]

The SNP expelled Walker on 8 April for allegedly not declaring the allegations cited in his uncontested divorce proceedings during the MSP vetting process. He continued to sit in the Scottish Parliament as an Independent Nationalist and appealed his expulsion.

On 8 June 2012, Walker issued a statement that said: "For the past few months I have been subjected to a campaign of gossip, innuendo and salacious allegations, and therefore welcome the opportunity I might now have to state my side of the case in possible court proceedings, which I am confident will clear me of any wrongdoing. There are serious questions to be put to those accusing me, but this will be done in the proper legal forum. I look forward to facing my accusers in Court. Obviously, as these matters are now in the hands of the judicial system, there will be no further comment by me."

On 22 August 2013, Walker was convicted of 23 charges of assault and one breach of the peace in relation to three ex-wives and a stepdaughter at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.[10][11][12]

On 7 September 2013, he resigned from the Scottish Parliament, claiming there had been a "media onslaught" against him. A majority of MSPs had also backed a motion calling on him to resign.[1][13]

On 20 September 2013, he was sentenced to 12 months in prison by Edinburgh Sheriff Court. When sentencing him, Sheriff Kathrine Mackie said "Having regard to the gravity of these offences as a result of the cumulative effect of them, your extreme denial and complete absence of any remorse, and the assessment of risk, I have come to the conclusion that a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal. In my opinion, the repeated abuse and violent behaviour towards your three former wives and stepdaughter over a period of 28 years outweighs other factors." [14][15]

He was released from HM Prison Dumfries on 21 March 2014 under automatic early release rules after serving half of his sentence.[16] On 17 April 2014 his appeal against his conviction was turned down.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bill Walker resigns as MSP after pressure over domestic abuse convictions". BBC News. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Scottish election: SNP changes Edinburgh political map". BBC. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Bill Walker - MSPs : Scottish Parliament". Scottish.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  4. ^ "Tourism Initiatives". billwalkermsp.com. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Row within SNP over John Mason's gay marriage motion". BBC News. 7 August 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Renewable Energey". billwalkermsp.com. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "SNP calls for reversal of Longannet ‘betrayal’". 21 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (4 March 2012). "Revealed: MSP's history of violence against three ex-wives". Sunday Herald Scotland. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Walker, Bill. "Update for Dunfermline Constituents". billwalkermsp.com. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "BBC News - MSP Bill Walker guilty of domestic abuse". Bbc.co.uk. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  11. ^ "Calls for wife-beating Bill Walker to quit as MSP - Top stories". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  12. ^ http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/8/1109/PF-v-BILL-WALKER Sheriff's verdict in PF v Bill Walker
  13. ^ http://www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk/news-events/news/scottish-womens-aid-public-statement-resignation-bill-walker Scottish Women's Aid statement
  14. ^ "Bill Walker jailed for 12 months for domestic abuse". BBC News. 20 September 2013. 
  15. ^ http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/8/1131/PF-v-BILL-WALKER Sheriff's sentencing statement in PF v Bill Walker
  16. ^ "Former MSP Bill Walker freed from jail after serving domestic abuse sentence". BBC News. 21 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "BBC News - Former MSP Bill Walker loses appeal convictions". BBC Online. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 

External links[edit]