A judge has ruled that Lord Watson of Invergowrie should serve 16 months in jail for his behaviour in a hotel last November when the staff refused to give him more alcohol.
The peer, and former member of the Scottish Parliament, who pioneered the flawed ban on hunting in Scotland, was told in court yesterday that ‘Someone in public office ought to know how to conduct himself on all occasions.’
The court heard from the prosecution that he was ‘very drunk’ and had been behaving oddly that evening, and when he ‘forcibly requested’ more alcohol was given an open bottle of wine in the hope that he would become calmer.
CCTV footage later captured him taking matches from his sporran, and setting fire to a curtain in the reception area of the Prestonfield House Hotel, where he and hundreds of others were staying.
The defence told the court how the Lord Watson had come to a ‘lonely and dark place’ after his wife miscarried, and had developed a problem with alcohol.
Sheriff Katherine Mackie told the defendant: ‘A large amount of alcohol appears to have been consumed, but that neither excuses nor fully explains your behaviour.’
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said today that he would only serve 8 of the 16 months he was convicted for, due to his friendships within Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Lord Watson stood down as an MSP, and was expelled from the Scottish Labour Party when his actions came to light, but will remain a member of the House of Lords.