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SNP min­is­ters ‘broke code’ by tak­ing limos from man­i­festo launch

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

used for travel ar­range­ments aris­ing from party busi­ness”.

The Scot­tish Govern­ment was last night un­able to say if Ni­cola Stur­geon also used a ve­hi­cle from its £1 mil­lion-a-year car ser­vice.

The Govern­ment de­fended the trips, which are re­vealed in newly pub­lished travel logs, on the ba­sis min­is­ters were trav­el­ling on­ward to of­fi­cial du­ties, mainly to Holy­rood.

The five cabi­net sec­re­taries were deputy First Min­is­ter John Swin­ney, Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Derek Mackay, Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Fiona Hys­lop and Ru­ral Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing.

Also picked up were Europe Min­is­ter Dr Alas­dair Al­lan, En­ergy Min­is­ter Paul Wheel­house and Men­tal Health Min­is­ter Mau­reen Watt.

Brexit min­is­ter Michael Russell shared the car for Mr Wheel­house, and Ms Hys­lop and Dr Al­lan also shared.

The code,which is po­liced by Ms Stur­geon, says min­is­ters “must not use pub­lic re­sources for party po­lit­i­cal pur­poses” and “must be sat­is­fied that their travel ar­range­ments could be de­fended in pub­lic”, not least to re­duce car­bon emis­sions.

Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “The pub­lic will be deeply un­com­fort­able at the idea of min­is­ters swan­ning out of a party po­lit­i­cal event straight into tax­payer-funded cars. It’s the kind of hypocrisy the SNP is be­com­ing renowned for.”

Labour MSP James Kelly said: “This looks like an out­ra­geous abuse of tax­payer money by govern­ment min­is­ters for party pur­poses.”

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokes­woman said: “The Govern­ment Car Ser­vice is avail­able for the use of min­is­ters and Cabi­net Sec­re­taries travel to and from govern­ment busi­ness.

“On this oc­ca­sion, Min­is­ters and Cabi­net Sec­re­taries were picked up and trav­elled to a va­ri­ety of Min­is­te­rial en­gage­ments.”

“We con­tin­u­ally look for ways to min­imise the use of cars for of­fi­cial jour­neys, for ex­am­ple, by car shar­ing – as hap­pened on this oc­ca­sion.”

Law­son claims Mr Ham­mond is ‘un­help­ful’.

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