MSP '˜outraged' at being denied police question

A Labour MSP has criticised the SNP convener of the Scottish Parliament's justice committee after he was denied an opportunity to ask Scotland's most senior police officer about his role in controversial undercover operations.

Picture: TSPL

Neil Findlay had asked to attend the committee, but was denied an opportunity to ask a question by Christine Grahame, something he described as “outrageous”.

Mr Findlay, who is not a member of the committee, said he had written to Chief Constable Phil Gormley on January 14 asking a series of questions about the officer’s involvement in the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch, but had yet to receive a response.

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Police Scotland confirmed in January that Mr Gormley was head of Special Branch in 2006 – the division which had responsibility for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which investigated environmental and political activist groups.

Last year the Metropolitan Police issued an “unreserved apology” to a number of women tricked into relationships by undercover officers attached to units including the SDS.

Speaking after the committee, Mr Findlay said: “So much for openness and democratic accountability. The only time we’ll get to speak to the chief before the recess and I basically get turfed out.”