Civil Service chief denies Alex Salmond leak claim

Alex Salmond has pledged not to hold another referendum if Scots vote No
Alex Salmond has pledged not to hold another referendum if Scots vote No
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CABINET Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has denied Alex Salmond’s accusation that the Treasury leaked market-sensitive information about the future of Royal Bank of Scotland to undermine the Yes campaign.

Sir Jeremy said there had been no breach of the ministerial code or suggestion of improper interference by civil servants.

He responded following claims from the First Minister that the UK Treasury had told BBC News on Wednesday night that RBS was going to tell the markets at 7am on Thursday that it might move parts of the business south after any Yes vote.

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News of the potential move sent shares down in the Asian markets, the First Minister said, and left the Yes campaign facing tough questions about the impact that leaving the United Kingdom might have on the finance sector.

But Sir Jeremy has now written to Mr Salmond to insist no rules had been broken.

He said the Treasury had simply been confirming the position after reports appeared elsewhere in the media.

“This was not a UK government announcement – it was simply a confirmation of the Treasury’s understanding of RBS’ contingency planning,” he wrote.

Last night, the issue was further complicated when the BBC’s economics editor, Robert Peston, reported that the Treasury had briefed journalists from a number of media outlets on the RBS move before the bank’s board had formally agreed it at 11pm, though he said RBS had not taken issue with the move.]

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