‘Disrespectful’ leak of Prime Minister’s statement on Covid investigated

The Scottish government has opened an investigation into the leaked Prime Minister’s statement on Covid-19.

Details of the statement – where the 500-person cap on outdoor events was lifted, allowing fans to attend football matches and Six Nations – were reported hours before being released to MSPs.

The leak angered President Alison Johnstone, who described it as “extremely disappointing and disrespectful to this parliament”.

Responding to the session chairman, Nicola Sturgeon said an investigation would be opened into the leak.

The presiding officer said the leak was “disappointing and disrespectful” (Russell Cheyne / PA)

“Apart from disrespecting Parliament which is a very serious matter, let me also assure you that there is no advantage or benefit to the Scottish Government in knowing the contents of these statements. before I send them to Parliament, “she said.

“I have asked my officials to look into this matter and I can advise the Chamber that the Scottish Government’s Information Security Officer will undertake appropriate inquiries to establish whether there has indeed been a leak of a part of the contents of this statement before I deliver it and, if so, what are the circumstances and the source.

Ms Johnstone has already been firm when details of important announcements appear in the press, warning Health Secretary Humza Yousaf in September that she may rescind future government statements and go straight to opposition questions after a newspaper reported that firefighters would be called in to help an ambulance service.

Before the statement, the sitting chairman said: “Before calling the Prime Minister, I know the details of today’s Covid-19 update were reported in the media before being announced to the parliament.

“I shouldn’t read in the media that they saw a draft of the declaration before it was made to this parliament.

“It is extremely disappointing and disrespectful to this parliament and its elected representatives.

“I spoke to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and he informed me that the government was going to initiate an investigation into the leak.

“Now I will allow this statement to be made today because I cannot be assured that all elected members have seen the complete project and also that it is important for the public to hear all the details.”

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