Opposition MSPs accuse Salmond of ‘doctoring’ official records

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First Minister Alex Salmond faces further opposition claims of
misleading parliament IMAGE: STOCKPIX.EU

Scottish news: Opposition MSPs accuse Salmond of ‘doctoring’ official records

First Minister Alex Salmond’s reputation was again in the spotlight last night after fresh accusations were made by opposition parties that he has been ‘doctoring’ official Holyrood records.

The first minister faces what is becoming a trend of opposition claims he has undermined the ‘integrity of parliament’ after giving an inaccurate answer to MSPs relating to the number of ‘green’ jobs in Scotland after opposition parties pressured Salmond over wind farms.

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Mr Salmond told MSPs in Holyrood on 25 October there were 18,000 jobs created by industries such as wind farms and hydro power, when the actual figure is 11,000.

The SNP government is also facing claims of concealing the error after MSPs after the official record in parliament had been changed without MSPs being publicly notified.

The first minister followed parliamentary protocol to correct the Official Report to give the accurate figure of 11,000 three weeks later, however opposition MSPs have complained that he did not announce the change.

Formal procedure means MSPs, including ministers who have mistakenly given inaccurate answers  in parliament, can write to the presiding officer and ask for the Official Report to be changed without having to make an announcement or write with an explanation to the MSP who asked a question.

Holyrood ‘guidance’ advises that letters of notification that the record is changed should be sent to the person who asked the original question as well as parliamentary officials.

An official Scottish government spokesman said: “The request for a correction was submitted on the morning of the 15th November, and as indicated by the Presiding Officer in the chamber, the Official Report was revised by Parliament yesterday.

"Following the revision to the Official Report, letters containing the correction are now being sent to Ms Smith, to the Scottish Parliament Information Centre and copied to the Presiding Officer in line with the guidance which was adopted by all opposition parties in 2010”.

“The First Minister has corrected the parliament’s official report to make it clear there are 11,000 jobs supported by Scotland’s renewable energy sector.”

Opposition parties allege that the SNP has been “doctoring official records” and argue that this undermines the trust in the first minister, however an SNP spokesperson stated that; “The first minister was making the point that the renewable energy sector in Scotland is supporting many thousands of jobs, and the parliament’s official record has now been updated to reflect the correct current number of jobs”.

The incident follows last week’s apology by the first minister after giving official college funding figures which were inaccurate and prompted opposition politicians to claim that MSPs were deliberately misled.

Labour MSP Richard Baker said the latest episode shows that the first minister “lies instinctively”.

Earlier this week, the conduct of the Labour party was brought into question by the SNP after it emerged that a Labour researcher cost taxpayers £23,000 after submitting eighty five freedom of information requests over the course of just four months.  

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published this page in News 2012-11-22 15:03:03 +0000