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Permanent Secretary urged to probe SNP’s ‘politicisation’ of civil service

The Scottish Conservatives have today written to Scotland’s top civil servant urging him to launch an investigation into the “alarming politicisation” of his staff under the SNP Government.

In a letter to the Permanent Secretary, shadow constitution secretary Donald Cameron points to evidence at the UK Covid Inquiry which he believes highlights the “nakedly political” behaviour of supposedly impartial civil servants.

He is particularly concerned by an email sent by a senior civil servant at the height of the pandemic which warns of the implications of Spain not being exempted from a UK travel ban on an independent Scotland being admitted to the European Union.

Mr Cameron says this is clear evidence of an official “going native” and focusing on the party-political interests of the SNP, in breach of the civil service code of conduct.


Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for the constitution, external affairs and culture Donald Cameron MSP said: “I have today written to Scotland’s most senior civil servant, the Permanent Secretary, urging him to launch an investigation into the politicisation of an office which is duty-bound to be completely impartial.

“Much of the evidence at the UK Covid Inquiry points to an alarming and unacceptable politicisation of Scottish civil servants working for the SNP Government.

“The likes of Ken Thomson and Jason Leitch appear to have been at one with Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney when it comes to deleting WhatsApp messages, while Liz Lloyd was trying to create a political ‘rammy’ with the UK Government.

“We also learned that a senior official wrote a shameful email advocating the lifting of the Spain travel ban because of its likely impact on an independent Scotland being admitted to the EU. That can’t be construed as anything other than being nakedly political.

“Civil servants have a duty to be politically neutral yet it’s clear that many are, or were, acting in the SNP’s political interests.

“This is wrong. Of course, the danger of civil servants ‘going native’ is not helped when SNP ministers deploy them on areas that are outwith the Scottish Government’s remit, such as their independence propaganda papers.”