LABOUR has called for an investigation in to claims of bribery at Scotland’s state-owned Prestwick Airport.

Its demand came after The Herald yesterday revealed that a former executive at the low-cost hub claims he was sacked for blowing the whistle on and corruption.

Derek Banks made the allegations at an employment tribunal as he fought to get back his job as the airport’s finance director.

Prestwick officials - who do not answer operationally to government - counter that Mr Banks was dismissed because of poor performance.

Labour finance spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said claims made at the tribunal were “deeply troubling”.

She said: “Allegations of corruption and collusion would be shocking at any company – but the fact Prestwick Airport is effectively owned by the SNP government would make it a national scandal.

“These fresh allegations must be urgently investigated by the SNP government. We need to know who knew what and when – and what was done to address these reports.”

Labour has been highly critical of Prestwick, which has struggled since budget giant Ryanair cut back services as it expanded at rival Glasgow.

Ms Baillie said the airport was a “black hole for taxpayers’ cash” and said it was “increasingly” reliant on US Air Force sorties and Donald Trump - whose Turnberry resort is nearby, to stay afloat.

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The Scottish Government made no comment on the specific allegations. A spokmesman said: “Prestwick Airport is operated on a commercial basis and at arm’s length from the Scottish Government, in compliance with European Union state aid rules.

“The funding given to the airport supports vital employment, and if we had not stepped in the closure of the airport would have dealt a heavy blow to the local and national economies.

“Handling private and military flights has been a part of Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s business for many decades.

“Any staffing matters are the responsibility of the CEO and the Board. We are not party to the tribunal and it would be inappropriate to comment on any aspects of the case.”

HeraldScotland: Former Prestwick Airport finance director Derek Banks. Pic Robert Perry
Derek Banks

At the tribunal a lawyer for Prestwick said Mr Banks was let go for “his perceived lack of engagement in his role and poor performance”.

A decision on whether he will be allowed to keep his job in the interim will be issued at a later date by employment judge Shona MacLean.