Humza Yousaf accused of possible breach of ministerial code

The First Minister has been urged to refer himself to the independent adviser on the ministerial code.

Humza Yousaf accused of possible breach of ministerial code by Alex Cole-Hamilton of Scottish renewables claim Scottish Parliament

Humza Yousaf has been accused of potentially breaching the Scottish ministerial code.

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats wrote to the First Minister on Thursday over how he corrected a “false” statement made in Holyrood.

Alex Cole-Hamilton urged Yousaf to refer himself to the independent adviser on the ministerial code on the matter.

He said Yousaf wrongly stated in Holyrood on June 22 that Scotland maintained the majority of the UK’s renewable and natural resources.

The First Minister later corrected the record in parliament on August 29, saying he had meant to say that it was per capita of population.

But Cole-Hamilton suggested civil servants had retroactively produced statistics to justify the First Minister’s remarks amid accusations of a cover-up.

He said that from documents released under a Freedom of Information request “it appears that a fact may have subsequently been manufactured after June 22 in order to minimise the impact of your need to correct the parliamentary record”.

“If so,” Cole-Hamilton said, “that would make it impossible for you to have had the ‘intention’ of quoting this apparent fact at the time, as you later told parliament.”

The Scottish Lib Dem leader continued: “I am concerned that these new documents raise the possibility that you knew it was not true to tell parliament that, in your words, ‘I had intended to say ‘per capita’’ at FMQs on June 22, if indeed this apparent fact was only reverse engineered afterwards in the course of your Scottish Government deliberating how it could correct the record and save embarrassment.

“I am concerned that in the course of correcting the record in relation to the exchange on June 22 that you may have knowingly misled parliament in your letter of August 29.

“I therefore urge you to refer yourself to the independent adviser on the Scottish ministerial code in relation to your handling of the correction of the record in parliamentary proceedings.”

The ministerial code states that those who knowingly mislead parliament are expected to resign.

A spokesperson for the First Minister told journalists on Thursday said claims of a cover-up are untrue.

He said: “The fact that we corrected the record speaks for itself and the fact that we disclosed under FOI the discussions that took place in terms of civil servants surely also speaks for transparency.

“I saw a quote from somebody, it was the accusation of a cover-up, well we published the discussion and the only reason, as often is the case when we get stories put to us, the only reason people know about these things is because something was disclosed on the FOI.

“I’m saying we can’t be accused of covering things up and also disclosing things.”

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