Top civil servant rejects demand to remove “SNP propaganda”

Scotland’s most senior civil servant has refused to remove “shameless SNP propaganda” from Scottish Government social media accounts.


Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans has also rejected Scottish Conservative calls for an apology to be issued about the posts or investigate how they were approved.


She was responding to a letter from party leader Douglas Ross in which he raised concerns about the government video posted last month on its official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.


The narrator concludes: “We believe Scotland has the right to choose a better future as an independent country.”


In his letter to Ms Evans, Mr Ross pointed out the need for civil servants to be politically neutral and said the video was one-sided and “clearly seeks to exert the opinion of the SNP through government channels”.


She presided over the Scottish Government’s complaints process that failed women who made sexual misconduct allegations against Alex Salmond and ultimately cost taxpayers more than £500,000.


Ms Evans is due to return to give more evidence the Scottish Parliament’s Salmond Inquiry, having previously apologised for providing incorrect information.


Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “I am disappointed with this unsatisfactory response from the permanent secretary.


“This video was brazen SNP propaganda paid for by taxpayers and pushed on the public through official Scottish Government channels.


“It makes a mockery of political neutrality and no-one, no matter their political views, can feel comfortable with a civil service peddling party political propaganda.


“Between this ridiculous video and John Swinney’s latest comments on an independence referendum being ‘essential’, the SNP have clearly lost all sense of priority at this crucial stage in the pandemic.”

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