About MSP Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell (b1952) in Coatbridge is a Scottish Conservative politician who, although never elected to office has enjoyed being a (list) Member in the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland since 2003. Husband Henry, an accountant (now retired) and Margaret are directors of at least two Property Development companies. They also own a lovely holiday home in the Canary Islands valued at around £0.5m. Their net worth is estimated at £2m. (wikipedia)
Dec 2010: The Tory Party Commission – Building for Scotland
Lord Sanderson’s report, “Building for Scotland” was an attempt to tackle long decay in the Scottish Conservative & Unionist party. Its conclusions recommended:
(1) Candidate selection procedures to be overhauled.Clearing out the deadwood.
(2) There should be one elected Scottish leader, accountable solely to the membership of the Scottish party
(3) Senior Conservative Westminster and Holyrood parliamentarians should have regular meetings with their Westminster colleagues.
(4) There would be no distinct Scottish identity. (Sanderson failed to bite the bullet.)
(5) The Scottish party leader would only be allowed to appoint a Scottish chairman after “consultation with the UK party leader”.
(6) Westminster MP’s would be permitted to stand for leadership of the Scottish party. (A strange one)
(7) The Scottish Conservative and Unionist party would not be autonomous. (An outright rejection of full autonomy “the Bavarian solution”.)
(8) The operational freedom of the Scottish party is to be guaranteed, including authority to introduce policies (devolved matters only) different to that of the National party.
(9) The Scottish Parliament should absolutely be given more tax powers. This would also allow Scottish Conservatives to fashion a more clearly defined pro-enterprise set of arguments:
- The response of Margaret Mitchell MSP was disappointing. She said: “Having looked at the Sanderson report, I can only see it playing into the hands of the separatists. To me it can only help the move to independence. To me, it cannot possibly strengthen the Union. It could only weaken the Union. I fail to see how new tax raising powers can possibly strengthen the Union and I am encouraged that Sanderson says there must be a full debate on it.”
Granting Holyrood greater powers should not necessarily lead to greater support for independence. But all the evidence indicates that the vast bulk of Scots feel more Scottish than British. This does not always mean that those who feel more Scottish want the UK to split.
Many are comfortable with overlapping identities and might well vote for a party supporting enterprise, social stability and a caring society with an emphasis on traditions and responsibilities as well as rights.
The Conservative and Unionist party sadly does not meet any of these criteria and it is only by becoming like those voters – proudly Scottish but supportive of the UK – will the Scottish Conservatives become acceptable to the Scottish electorate. They could make a start by dropping the Unionist tag.
April 2011: Holyrood Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell in Holiday Home Row
Lanarkshires’s best-known blue rinse Tory was this week at the centre of an embarrassing holiday home row. The Mitchell’s live in Bothwell and she is the Conservative candidate for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse in the forthcoming Holyrood election.
She came under fire after trumpeting the delights of her overseas property in the middle of the election campaign. The Mitchell’s two-bedroom holiday apartment on the tiny paradise island of La Gomera was last week featured across two pages in a national newspaper’s property section.
In the article, the former Tory justice spokeswoman tells how she and her husband – South Lanarkshire councillor Henry Mitchell, a retired accountant – paid 300,000 euros (about £265,000) for the apartment which has views over a golf course on the Atlantic island, which is a 30-mile ferry ride from Tenerife.
The article explains that because of the election, she is “busy” in Scotland. Usually, however, the couple try to visit La Gomera in the “main holidays”. She told the paper: “So it’s Christmas and New Year, Easter and summer. We might also squeeze a few days in the February and autumn break and Henry can go more frequently than me because he is retired.”
Mitchell gushed that the island was “beautiful, safe and stable” with good roads and proper healthcare. And Playa de Santiago, situated in the dry south of the island, has 3000 hours of sunshine a year, twice that of Britain. The golf course on the island – Columbus’ last port of call before he sailed off to discover America -– is said to be spectacular and the walking “fantastic”. The article also pointed out: “A mobile phone and Wi-Fi at the development’s country club means Margaret is contactable and can keep up to date with her e-mails.”
Mitchell said the article arose after they agreed endorse the development in which the apartment is situated. “We have been going to La Gomera for 15 years and are very fond of the place,” she added. She added: “My view is that people who work hard should be able to spend their money as they see fit. As a Conservative, that’s what I am about. Are people saying that you should not get a holiday if you are a politician. I have not had a holiday for three months.”
SNP candidate Dick Lyle, the North Lanarkshire councillor who is representing the party in Uddingston and Bellshill and is fifth on the Nats’ Central Scotland slate, said: “When Mrs Mitchell needs to recharge her batteries she goes to La Gomera. Lucky her, the rest of us have to stay here and pay the price of her party’s economic policies. I’ve had one holiday in three years.”
May 2016: Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell is Branded a Hypocrite in EU Stance After Boasting of Canaries Holiday Home
The MSP is backing Brexit and says the UK is struggling under the strain of immigration, but she enjoys holidays in the Canary Islands. An anti-EU Tory with a second home in the Canary Islands was branded a hypocrite last night after calling for a Brexit. Mitchell said the strain of immigration on British public services was the “key” reason to get out of the European Union. She argued her case in a debate at Holyrood on the referendum on Britain’s future in Europe. But Mitchell, (63), did not mention her fondness for the EU holiday destination, where her husband owns a property.
Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell became the first Holyrood politician to back Brexit from the ‘unwieldy’ EU. The Central Scotland MSP said: “I understand why people from other parts of the EU would want to come here to improve their standard of living. “But the situation has the potential to put unsustainable pressure on our schools, health service and housing, for instance. “Translation costs alone already impact on public services. “The access that those economic migrants gain to our benefits system in turn impacts adversely on pensions and other benefits that UK citizens have worked – in some cases, for a lifetime – to secure.”
Responding to criticism, Mitchell said the property is owned by her husband, not her. She added: “I don’t see what relevance this has to anything.”
An SNP spokesman said: “today’s debate showed Holyrood at its best, with overwhelming support across the chamber for Scotland’s place in Europe and the many benefits that come with EU membership. “Of course one of the great advantages of our membership is the freedom to live, work and study in other countries across the EU – something which so many of us benefit from. It seems completely hypocritical for Margaret Mitchell – while enjoying these benefits herself – to rail against them in calling for Scotland to withdraw from the EU to curb immigration.”
A Labour spokesman said: “Instead of ill-informed campaign rhetoric, Margaret Mitchell should welcome the positive contribution people coming to live in the UK make to our economy.“There is a strong, positive case to be made for remaining in the EU – including securing hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland and protecting the rights of workers.”