SCOTLAND’s newest MSP sold nearly £30,000 of shares in a tobacco company days after he was sworn in at Holyrood.

Tory accountant Bill Bowman has also seen the value of his investment portfolio soar to over £600,000 since becoming a member of the Scottish Parliament.

He joined Ruth Davidson’s team late last year after North East list MSP Alex Johnstone died of cancer.

A former senior employee at KPMG, Bowman took the oath of allegiance in Parliament on December 21 and joined the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee.

According to his register of interest he made a significant financial decision soon after entering Holyrood. His declaration states: "I owned ordinary shares in British American Tobacco, within a Self-Invested Personal Pension and a personal portfolio, with a total value of £30,717.26. I disposed of these shares on 12 January 2017."

In 2016, BAT, the world’s second biggest cigarette company, promised to investigate claims child workers were being used in supply farms in Bangladesh to grow and process tobacco.

At the time a senior company figure said the claims presented a “misleading and inaccurate view of our tobacco leaf farming supply chain”, but added that it had asked for details of the farm locations.

Having an investment in tobacco companies is deemed to be controversial due to the carcinogenic nature of the firms’ products. A range of public bodies have been under pressure in recent years to ensure their pension funds have no link to Big Tobacco.

According to his same register of interest, Bowman’s extensive financial interests were worth around £581,000 earlier this year, but his portfolio now stands at over £600,000.

He owns £84,974 of shares in Vanguard S&P 500, holds a £37,599 investment in another US equity tracker, £41,948 of shares in oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell and £95,089 of bonds in Gutmann Investor Renton Global.

He also owns £54,784 of bonds in another investment fund,a £149,885 of equities Gutmann Global Dividends USD, £35,062 of shares in ITV and £31,909 of shares in Unilever.

In addition, he declares a “Transparent Partnership Agreement” in Simmons Private Equity II L.P. worth £72,134.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “This is an incredible list of financial interests, although Mr Bowman is, of course, not alone among Tory MSPs in having such a remarkable entry in the register. Voters will also expect Mr Bowman to explain why he hurriedly disposed of his shares in British American Tobacco – one of the world’s largest tobacco firms that has been at the centre of a series of global scandals – after becoming an MSP. Did Ruth Davidson order him to do so in a desperate attempt to avoid embarrassment?”

An SNP source said: "Bill Bowman was clearly desperate to cash in on his shares to cover the lifestyle that he's accustomed to whilst trying to live on an MSP's salary.

"People across the country have felt the pinch under the Tories, with cuts and now Brexit-driven inflation hitting household incomes - but Ruth Davidson's band of wealthy MSPs are completely out of touch with how ordinary people live.

Asked why Bowman had disposed of the BAT shares so so soon after becoming an MSP, a Scottish Tory spokesman said:

"Mr Bowman has completed and updated his Register of Interests as required by parliament. He has declared his shareholdings openly and in line with procedure, as have many other MSPs."