Hotel-based MSP denies living high life

Richard Lyle MSP
Richard Lyle MSP

Central Scotland MSP Richard Lyle has denied ‘living the high life’ after it was revealed his hotel bill was the biggest in the Scottish Parliament.

The former Bellshill SNP councillor spent £11,386 on accommodation in 2013, spending three nights a week in Edinburgh.

The total cost for MSPs staying in the capital was almost £547,000, 13.5 per cent higher than in 2010.

That prompted Eben Wilson, director of pressure group Taxpayer Scotland, to call for MSPs like Mr Lyle to seek out cheaper accomodation.

Mr Wilson said: “The costs for our parliamentarians seem to be going through the roof. They should consider renting apartments which would provide better value.”

Mr Lyle pointed out that, despite the high hotel figure, his overall expenses total of £15,147 was only 75th out of 129 MSPs. If he was travelling to Edinburgh every day his travel costs would be much higher.

He refused to name the hotel he uses but stressed: “It is used by other MSPs and it’s not the poshest in the city. I’m certainly not living the high life.”

Mr Lyle said he serves on three committees and needs to be in Edinburgh for 9am some days, so staying makes sense. It also lets him attend parliament events at night.

He added that he had two eye operations last year which meant he didn’t want to drive as much. However, he is coming off one committee and expects to reduce his nights in Edinburgh to two a week.