Bill Walker, Domestic Violence and Politics

Yesterday, Bill Walker, MSP for Dunfermline, “resigned” from the Scottish parliament. This was not because he had a sudden crisis of conscience following years of domestic violence against three partners and his step-daughter. He did not resign following his conviction for these crimes. Bill Walker only resigned following a massive campaign by Scottish feminists, a little fact which the media is once again ignoring.

If politicians want women to believe they take male violence against women seriously, then politicians need to step up and act. No one with convictions for domestic or sexual violence should be allowed to keep their seat in parliament [whether that be Westminister, Scotland, EU or the House of Lords]. Anyone charged with these crimes should be suspended until the court process has been completed. Anyone convicted of these crimes should be banned from serving in parliament. 

The rule for allowing members of parliament to serve if convicted of a crime and serving less than a year in prison is problematic. It doesn’t take into consideration the very low sentences given to men convicted for violence against women. MVAW is systemic. We need our government to make a clear statement and prohibit men who commit domestic violence from serving as elected members of parliament. 

There are also some serious questions to be asked of the Crown Office & Prosecutor Fiscal Service. But, these questions won’t be asked unless the government itself makes a clear statement about the seriousness of male violence against women. 

Bill Walker has resigned from the Scottish Parliament after pressure over his domestic abuse convictions.

The independent Dunfermline MSP was found guilty of 23 charges over three decades at a court in Edinburgh last month. When the allegations were made public, he was ejected from the SNP. He is due to be sentenced in September. More than half of Scotland’s MSPs supported a motion calling for him to go.
In a statement, Walker said:
It has been increasingly difficult for my wife and my staff to deal with the media interest in my case. That same media onslaught has also made it impossible to properly represent my constituents and their interests.
My trial process on domestic abuse charges still continues at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with the sentence not due to be announced until September 20 after the receipt of the reports ordered by the court. However, circumstances have made it very difficult to continue as MSP, hence my decision to withdraw now.

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