Jeremy Heywood tells SNP ‘BBC did not breach code’

Sir Jeremy wrote to Alex Salmond to say no rules had been broken when the BBC reported that RBS had a contingency plan to move its legal office to England. Picture: TSPL

Sir Jeremy wrote to Alex Salmond to say no rules had been broken when the BBC reported that RBS had a contingency plan to move its legal office to England. Picture: TSPL

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SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: The head of the civil service Sir Jeremy Heywood has said there was no breach of the Ministerial Code in relation to BBC reporting of RBS’s headquarters moving to England.

Sir Jeremy wrote to Alex Salmond to say no rules had been broken when the BBC reported that RBS had a contingency plan to move its legal office south of the border in the event of a Yes vote.

The senior civil servant was replying to Mr Salmond’s call for an investigation into the BBC’s reporting of the move.

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The First Minister reacted to news that Scotland’s five major banks were considering moving their legal-bases out of Scotland by claiming that the Treasury had briefed the BBC with “market sensitive information” about RBS before the markets opened.

Sir Jeremy’s letter said the Treasury had simply been confirming the position after reports appeared elsewhere in the media and there had been no breach of the Ministerial Code.

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

“In response to .... informed media reports about RBS, the Treasury judged that it was important to set this out - at a time when the UK financial markets were closed - given their overarching responsibility for maintaining financial stability in the UK.”

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