Foulkes calls for action after Salmond 'misleads' MSPs

LOTHIANS Labour MSP George Foulkes has lodged a formal complaint against First Minister Alex Salmond, accusing him of misleading the Scottish Parliament.

It follows a spat between the two men at last week's First Minister's Questions over the closure threat to Edinburgh's police forensic laboratory.

Lord Foulkes was pressing Mr Salmond over when an announcement would be made on the future of the Howdenhall lab. Mr Salmond claimed Lord Foulkes would have known if he had not stormed out of a meeting between Lothians MSPs and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill last month. But Lord Foulkes says he walked out in protest because Mr MacAskill would not give a date for an announcement.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Now he has written to Sir Peter Housden, Scotland's top civil servant, making a formal complaint.

In his letter, Lord Foulkes said: "The First Minister claimed it was because I left a meeting with the Justice Secretary that I needed to put down my question. The facts are entirely the opposite. The reason I tabled the question was precisely because the Justice Secretary refused to give a date.

"I consider this a very important matter for two reasons. First, because it is not the first time that Mr Salmond has been accused of misleading parliament. Second, because my constituents at the forensic laboratory are left in a situation of great uncertainty about their future, and the First Minister failed to deal with my question on their behalf."

During First Minister's Questions, Lord Foulkes asked Mr Salmond when the Scottish Government expected to announce its decision on the future of forensic services. Mr Salmond first replied that he was surprised Lord Foulkes did not already know because "the Cabinet Secretary for Justice clearly explained the position at the meeting on October 28".

Then he said: "I have just been handed a note that explains why Lord George Foulkes did not know the answer to his question: it is because he stormed oot the meeting after five minutes and did not hear what the Cabinet Secretary for Justice said."

Lord Foulkes says he checked with MSPs who were present for the whole meeting with Mr MacAskill and they confirmed he had not given a date.

A spokesman for the First Minister said: "The issue here is really one of Lord Foulkes' behaviour. If all he can do is storm out of a meeting that's not going to do anything to enhance his reputation. The minute of the meeting is crystal clear that the Cabinet Secretary said a decision would be taken before the end of the year."