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Humza Yousaf’s “integrity and credibility on the line” over misleading Parliament claims

Humza Yousaf’s “integrity and credibility is on the line” unless he answers a series of questions over claims he misled Parliament, the Scottish Conservatives have warned.

Liam Kerr’s comments come after he challenged the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament when it emerged civil servants spent weeks “concocting excuses” for false claims the SNP leader made about Scotland’s renewable energy capacity.

After those claims were made on June 22 at First Minister’s Questions, the North East Conservative MSP made a point of order urging Humza Yousaf to correct the record.

However, this was only done during the summer recess and a full response was only finally sent to Liam Kerr – among others – on August 29.

After the First Minister’s “appalling deflection” on Thursday, he is now demanding Humza Yousaf answers the following questions:

  • Did you force supposedly impartial civil servants to breach the ministerial code on your behalf in order to try and save face?
  • How many officials were working on this response over a number of weeks?
  • Given your officials had the correct figures a matter of hours after FMQs finished on June 22, why did you not correct the official record there and then?
  • Why did it take you almost a month to inform officials of what you had intended to say on June 22?
  • Did you personally ask the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser to sign off on this response? If not, were you were aware of their involvement?
  • Will you now refer yourself to the Independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code?

Liam Kerr says if Humza Yousaf does not refer himself to the independent adviser, he will escalate the matter to the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary – John-Paul Marks – to investigate whether civil servants were being asked to carry out political activities.

Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said: “Humza Yousaf’s response to me at First Minister’s Questions on this serious matter was one of appalling deflection.

“He cannot brush these claims of misleading Parliament under the carpet which is why I am urging him to be fully transparent and answer the questions I have put to him.

“This is not a niche issue about process or protocol, this is about the First Minister twice being rumbled for misleading parliament – and by extension the country. His integrity and credibility is on the line.

“That’s why he has to answer these questions.

“The public deserve to know whether the First Minister personally instructed supposedly impartial civil servants to spend weeks concocting excuses for him, to try and spare his blushes.

“Humza Yousaf must urgently refer himself to the independent adviser on the ministerial code to decide if he knowingly misled Parliament over this response.

“If he doesn’t then there will be little option other than to escalate this matter further within the Scottish Government to determine whether this is another example of the SNP politicising our civil service.

“Humza Yousaf’s spin and bluster won’t wash. He cannot double down and should respond to my questions as a matter of urgency.”