THE SNP Government has been carpeted by Holyrood chiefs over the release of details about Alex Salmond’s £500,000 taxpayer-funded trip to the Ryder Cup earlier this year.
Labour complained that details about the cost and extent of Mr Salmond’s entourage were only revealed last week in response to a “planted” question in Parliament from Nationalist backbencher Clare Adamson.
Labour’s Mark Griffin had asked for details about the trip six weeks earlier, prompting Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick to hit out yesterday.
She said: “For a member to have to wait nearly eight weeks for an answer to a Parliamentary question and then simply be referred to an answer to a question lodged six weeks after his original question is not in my view acceptable.”
She said the Government’s own guidance, which is published on its website, says that any “announcement” should be made to the first question on any particular subject from an MSP “whether or not it is an opposition question.”
“It appears that this advice has not been followed,” Ms Marwick added.
“I expect the Scottish Government to treat all members equally when responding to written and oral questions irrespective of which party they are from. I consider that the Government has treated Mr Griffin with discourtesy.”
Ms Adamson’s question was initiated by Government ministers and the Presiding Officer called for steps to ensure there is no repeat.
A total of £468,580 was spent to send ministers and 12 Scottish Government officials, as well as 22 other officials from tourism quango Visitscotland and Scottish Development International to Chicago for the golfing tournament. Ministers wanted to publicise the tournament’s return to Gleneagles in 2014.
Mr Griffin said afterwards: “The government was trying to hide the truth about Salmond’s trip to the golf.
“After the dressing down they got from the Presiding Officer I hope they have learned the lesson and will start answering questions truthfully.”