Scottish independence: Top civil servant urged to take action over 'misleading' Scottish Government tweet

Scotland’s top civil servant has been urged to take action over a “misleading and partisan” post by the Scottish Government’s official Twitter account.

The Scottish Conservatives said the post breaches the civil service code and has “clearly crossed any reasonable line”.

Party chairman Craig Hoy has written to Permanent Secretary John-Paul Marks urging him to make a ruling on the matter.

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The tweet features a short video clip outlining the Scottish Government’s economic case for independence. It was timed to coincide with the publication of a new paper on the topic on Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon holds a press conference to launch the third paper in the Building a New Scotland series. Picture: David Cheskin-Pool/Getty Images
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The video says independence would provide Scotland with the opportunity to fully utilise its “great economic strengths”.

"With independence, Scotland would no longer be tied to the UK’s Brexit-based economy, which evidence has shown has delivered low growth and high inequality,” it says. "New powers, combined with its existing strengths and firm economic foundations, would give Scotland an opportunity to build a better future for everyone who lives here.”

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Mr Hoy’s letter accuses the post of breaking section 15 of the civil service code, which states civil servants must not “act in a way that is determined by party political considerations or use official resources for party political purposes”.

He said: “There is a duty for civil servants to abide by the civil service code when it comes to political impartiality, but this post clearly did not do that. It is another deeply worrying example of Government resources being used to promote SNP propaganda and their relentless push for a divisive independence referendum next year.

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“That is completely unacceptable and is why I have written to the Permanent Secretary to rule whether this tweet crossed a line regarding honesty and impartiality. The post was littered with misleading and partisan claims, with a complete lack of facts to even attempt to back them up.

“Taxpayers will be seriously questioning the neutrality and reliability of these posts in future, given the Scottish Government were all too happy to peddle the SNP’s economic case for independence. The Permanent Secretary must intervene here and take action against a post, which was a clear breach of the civil service code.”

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The letter has been received and we will respond in due course.”

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