POLITICS and scandal are never far apart, and Holyrood has seen its fair share of sins and blunders over the years, with mavericks and money a common theme. 

The spiralling cost of the Parliament building ensured controversy was a feature of devolution from the very start. 

A row over commemorative medals even overshadowed the first full day of business in 1999.  

Awarded to all 129 MSPs, the souvenirs cost over £7,000 in total. 

“Medals should be reserved for those who achieve things and we are very far from achieving anything in the Parliament to date,” observed socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan, not unreasonably. More on him later. 

It wasn’t long before a hungry press pack claimed its first scalp. 

HeraldScotland: Henry McLeish

"It's a muddle, not a fiddle" - Henry McLeish

Henry McLeish, elected first minister in 2000 following the death of Donald Dewar, was barely in the door when “officegate” erupted.  

It was, he famously insisted, “a muddle, not a fiddle”. 

But the chewy row over the sub-letting of his old office as an MP was enough to force his resignation in November 2001. 

READ MORE: Herald Politician of the Year Awards - A Labour perspective

The same month, his successor Jack McConnell shocked journalists by calling a press conference with his wife and admitting to an extramarital affair several years earlier. He wanted to get everything out in the open. 

Mr Sheridan, it’s fair to say, followed a very different path. 

The former MSP went from socialist firebrand to convicted perjurer after suing the News of the World over claims he was an adulterer and swinger. 

Tabloid allegations also led to the resignation of Tory MSP David Davidson as his party’s health spokesman in 2005. In a decidedly unhealthy move, he was accused of going on a “five-hour binge-drinking bender” before slipping on the cobbles of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and breaking his leg. There were also claims of nights spent with SNP MSP Christine Grahame. 

Later that year, Labour peer Mike Watson was jailed after drunkenly setting fire to a curtain at The Herald’s Scottish Politician of the Year awards. 

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, then deputy editor of The Herald, obtained the CCTV stills and they were splashed on our front page.  

Money has proven a predictable source of controversy.  


Tommy Sheridan ran afoul of the tabloids

In 2005, Tory leader David McLetchie resigned over his slapdash taxi expenses after spending £11,500 over five years. 

An impressive feat, but it pales in comparison to LibDem MSP Keith Raffan, who submitted a mileage claim roughly equivalent to driving three times around the world

READ MORE: Margo MacDonald judged best 'Free Spirit'

Wendy Alexander resigned as Scottish Labour leader in 2008 following a row over donations to her leadership campaign. 

And in 2010, then FM Alex Salmond and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon landed in hot water after auctioning off Holyrood lunch dates at an SNP fundraiser. 

All scandals have a human cost, but some are darker than others. 

In 2013, Bill Walker resigned as an MSP after being convicted of a string of domestic abuse offences.  

He was later jailed, the third MSP to do time behind bars. 

Mr Salmond was cleared of sexual assault charges earlier this year, while former finance secretary Derek Mackay quit after messaging a 16-year-old boy.