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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
MSP denies fire-raising charges
Prestonfield Hotel
Prestonfield House, where the incident occurred in November
Mike Watson, the Labour peer and MSP, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of wilful fire-raising at a hotel in Edinburgh last year.

He appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court where his solicitor Paul Burns entered the pleas on his behalf.

Mr Watson, 56, who represents Glasgow Cathcart, is alleged to have set fire to curtains in two areas of the Prestonfield Hotel in November 2004.

The case was continued for a week for further discussions.

Depute fiscal Adrian Fraser said a meeting had been arranged to view video footage.

Mr Watson was charged following an incident at the Scottish Politician of the Year awards dinner, which was held at the hotel.

He is accused of setting fire to curtains in the reception area and the Yellow Room, endangering staff and guests.

Hunting bill

Since being charged, Mr Watson has been allowed to sit in the House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament but is excluded from the Labour whip and party group meetings.

He put forward The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill which came into effect in 2002 and banned hunting with hounds.

A former culture, tourism and sport minister, he lost his cabinet post in the 2003 election reshuffle.

He is now deputy convener of the enterprise and culture committee.

MSP's fireraising trial date set
25 Jul 05 |  Scotland
MSP bailed on fireraising charges
30 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Watson's pride over hunting ban
15 Feb 02 |  Scotland

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