A SCOTS Lord Provost who took a 150-mile round trip to buy a tailored kilt on expenses has said he has “**** all” to answer for.
Labour’s Adam Montgomery billed taxpayers for his favourite Kilmarnock FC tartan – costing £890 – and the £60 if cost him to get there.
The Midlothian Council boss has defended his purchase, which he says was for the twinning of Bonnyrigg and Lasswade with a town in France.
However, last night the local authority’s SNP group leader branded the move “a terrible waste of money”, adding that he had never seen Montgomery wear a kilt on an official occasion before.
Montgomery defended his claim, saying: “I am the lowest paid Lord Provost in Scotland. I received my P60 last month and I earned a total of £15,300 last year.
“I’m allowed £2,000 in expenses for clothes.
“Edinburgh’s Lord Provost is allowed £5,000 for clothing and his wife is allowed £2,000, whereas my wife gets nothing so I don’t feel the need to explain myself.
“When I travel to international functions I have to pay to take my wife with me whereas Edinburgh’s Lady Provost travels on expenses, which I think is perfectly acceptable, but it’s a right that my wife and I do not enjoy.
“Have a look at what other Lord Provosts get and you will see that I am the lowest paid so I’ve got **** all to explain to the SNP group and you can quote me on every word of that.”
Lifelong Kilmarnock supporter Montgomery claimed for the trip to the town’s McCallum Highland Wear to be fitted and collect the Kilmarnock FC tartan as it was the only place he could buy the item, claiming for one of the two trips.
Last night Montgomery insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
He said: “I put in a shift every month for Midlothian so the SNP want to get a grip of themselves and grow up.
“I needed the kilt for my visit to France to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the twinning of Saint Cyr L’Ecole with Bonnyrigg and Lasswade, and I will be wearing it to the 50th anniversary celebrations of Dalkeith’s twinning with Jarnac later this year.
“I wanted the Kilmarnock tartan because I am a Kilmarnock supporter, I was born in Kilmarnock and it was the only place I could get the tartan. Where I was born and what colour tartan I wear should not be an issue.
“I could have chosen the Montgomery tartan, which would also have been appropriate, but I wanted something a little bit different.”
Lord Provost Adam Montgomery also accused Colin Beattie, SNP’s parliamentary candidate for Midlothian, of using dirty tricks to gain publicity ahead of the election tomorrow.
He said: “Colin Beattie, the SNP candidate who is running for Midlothian, has known about this issue for more than a year and has been waiting for an opportunity to use this.
“You have to wonder with the election on Thursday why he would decide to roll this out now?”
Midlothian SNP group leader and parliamentary candidate Colin Beattie said that he will ensure the Lord Provost’s trip, which was in April last year, will be examined at the full council meeting next month.
Beattie also said that he had never seen Montgomery wear a kilt at an official function before, adding that he could have at least chosen a Midlothian tailor.
He said: “I don’t have a clue what he needs his own tailor made kilt for. If it’s coming out of the official expenses I assume it’s for use in official functions but I’ve never seen him wearing a kilt.
“Also, if it’s tailor-made to his measurements it will be no good to the next provost so it could end up having a very short official shelf life.
”It’s a terrible waste of money during these times of austerity.
“I’m not arguing against the principle of a clothing allowance for the Provost, but did he really have to travel to Kilmarnock to buy it?
“There are one or two good kiltmakers in Midlothian. Why not go to one of them?
“You would think, as Provost, he would want to showcase the best of Midlothian rather than go elsewhere.”