SCOTLAND’S richest MSP is facing an unprecedented ban on tabling questions at Holyrood after being found guilty of a second code of conduct breach in as many weeks.

Tory aristocrat Alexander Burnett, who is worth more than £40m, failed to declare an interest in his sprawling business empire when submitting written parliamentary questions.

The SNP accused him of “the worst kind of self-serving politics”, and demanded an apology.

The finding followed a complaint from the French former SNP MSP Christian Allard to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

He alleged Mr Burnett, who owns a construction company headquartered in Banchory, lodged a series of parliamentary questions lobbying the government against a rival firm’s property development in the town while failing to declare his own interests.

The Commissioner found Mr Burnett failed to declare an interest when he tabled five questions relating to planning matters, including two related to a specific planning application in Aberdeenshire to which a company wholly owned by him had objected.

Mr Allard demanded Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson apologise for the way her press office appeared to question his right to ask questions about Mr Burnett because he was an EU citizen, despite having lived in Scotland for 30 years.

Mr Burnett, 44, the Tory energy spokesman, was admonished for failing to declare other business interests a fortnight ago, after tabling two questions about non-domestic rates.

At the time, Holyrood’s standards committee merely upbraided him, as the rookie mistake was not severe enough to merit a tougher sanction, such as suspension.

However it warned it would “consider the full range of sanctions available to it for any future breaches of this nature”.

True to its word, it has now gone further after a second complaint against the Aberdeenshire West MSP, whose full name is Alexander James Amherst Burnett of Leys.

It has recommended that parliament as a whole, which is the only body which can impose a sanction on an MSP, ban him from tabling written parliamentary questions for two weeks.

Other MSPs have incurred more severe sanctions in the past, including suspension from parliament, but Mr Burnett is the first MSP specifically banned from tabling questions.

Mr Burnett said he did not think there had been a conflict of interest at the time, but accepted the finding and the recommended sanction.

In a statement, Clare Adamson, SNP convenor of the standards committee, said: “The Committee has considered a complaint from Christian Allard about Alexander Burnett MSP.

“The complaint is that Alexander Burnett failed to declare his registered interests when submitting Parliamentary Questions on 4 August 2016.

“The Committee is unanimous in the decisions reached on the complaint.

“Firstly, it agrees with the findings in fact and conclusion of the Commissioner. Secondly, it considers that the breach justifies the imposition of a sanction on Alexander Burnett.

“The final decision on whether to issue a sanction lies with the Parliament.

“The Committee will recommend that Alexander Burnett be prohibited from lodging Parliamentary Questions for written answer for a period of two weeks.

“I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Committee to remind all MSPs that they are obliged by law and by the Code of Conduct to make the appropriate written and oral declarations if they have a declarable interest before taking part in any proceedings of the Parliament.”

After the first complaint against him, Mr Burnett blamed an error by a staff member for failing to register interests, but said he took responsibility for a gap in her training and apologised.

Mr Burnett, who was elected in 2016, is estimated to have the largest fortune of any MSP, jarring with Ruth Davidson's attempts to portray the Scottish Tories on the side of the everyday voter.

The businessman’s register of interests runs to more than 1000 words.

He is the beneficiary of multi-million pound Trusts, owns a property empire worth £20m and will continue to earn upwards of £100,000 for a maximum one day a month's work.

He is the sole owner of the AJA Burnett Estate in Aberdeenshire which has agricultural land, residential and commercial lettings as well as recreational, sporting and forestry interests.

The market value is worth around £10m, generating an annual income of up to £650,000.

Mr Burnett is expected to pay himself between £115,000 and £120,000 in 2016/17, despite expecting to spend a maximum of one day a month in the business.

He is a trustee and sole beneficiary of the Banchory Trust, which owns property in Aberdeenshire with a market value of between £14.6m and £14.7m.

He is also a trustee and potential beneficiary of the Fordie Trust, with property worth £4.5m.

While the trusts generate annual income of around £430,000 and £75,000 respectively, he says he does not expect to receive any income from either in the current parliament.

In addition he owns £10m of shares in the North Banchory Company, a property letting and development firm; £5.5m of shares in Bancon Developments Holdings Ltd, another property firm; almost £1m of shares in energy firm Hill of Banchory Esco Ltd; and a further £140,000 of shares in another property business, the Inchmarlo Land Company Ltd.

His basic salary as an MSP is £61,778.

Mr Allard, now an Aberdeen City Councillor, said: “This is a very serious matter indeed, but it’s not a first for Alexander Burnett. In fact, it’s the second time in two weeks he’s been reprimanded for playing fast and loose with parliamentary rules.

“These rules are in place for good reason – to ensure fairness, transparency and to reassure the public that MSPs are putting their constituents first, not their own business interests.

“This behaviour is the worst kind of self-serving politics, which not only seriously undermines trust in Mr Burnett, but also damages the credibility of the Scottish Parliament itself.

“It’s high time Mr Burnett was brought to book for treating the people of Aberdeenshire West with such contempt. He owes them a public apology for his actions.

“After all, if he’s having his wings clipped in parliament then they lose their voice at Holyrood as a result. For that, Mr Burnett has only himself to blame.

“Ruth Davidson now needs to face up to this embarrassment for the Tories – condemn Mr Burnett’s actions and finally offer a full apology on behalf of her party for ever questioning the right of an EU citizen to have their voice heard on a legitimate matter of public concern.”

Mr Burnett said: “I have made a full and open declaration of my business interests in accordance with parliamentary rules.

“It was my judgement at the time that there was no conflict of interest as I was simply acting on behalf of several hundred very concerned constituents.

"However, I accept the decision of the committee in this case and will not contest any sanction that is imposed.

"I will also be advising my party colleagues to support the recommendation of the committee when it comes to the chamber for a final decision."