Scottish Government civil servants accused of peddling ‘SNP propaganda’ over anti-Brexit video

Scottish government civil servants have been accused of breaching strict rules on political neutrality by peddling “SNP propaganda”.

The row comes after a Scottish Government video promoted on their official social media accounts yesterday made a series of anti-Brexit claims.

In the footage, a narrator states the UK-EU trade agreement is “a bad deal for Scotland” that will damage business and communities.

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He also warns the Brexit deal will cause “greater risk to national security”.

Scottish government civil servants have been accused of breaching strict rules on political neutrality by peddling “SNP propaganda”.
Scottish government civil servants have been accused of breaching strict rules on political neutrality by peddling “SNP propaganda”.

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

Now Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has demanded an apology and immediate removal of the video.

He said: “This video is a work of shameless propaganda and it’s incredible that a politically neutral civil service would think it is in any way appropriate.

“For taxpayers to be bankrolling a work of one-sided Nationalist distortion is not on. The government is supposed to represent everyone in Scotland.

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“Today I have written to Simon Case, the UK Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, and also to Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government.

“We know Nicola Sturgeon and her party cannot accept reality as seen by her no-deal hypocrisy, but the civil service should play no part in peddling SNP propaganda, falsehoods and grievance.

“The truth is the UK-EU trade deal has been welcomed by Scottish business leaders, who say it is good for jobs and the economy.

“This video tries to take us all for fools, especially the one million plus Scots who voted to leave the EU.

“We need an apology for this video, its removal from Scottish Government sites and an explanation of how this was authorised and the cost to taxpayers.”

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The civil service code states that officials must not “act in a way that is determined by party political considerations, or use official resources for party political purposes".

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have received the letter and will respond in due course.”

It comes as Scottish Government modelling estimated Scotland’s GDP could be around 6.1 per cent lower by 2030 compared to if it remained a member of the EU.

The analysis was labelled “sobering” by Constitution Secretary Michael Russell, who claimed it was a reminder why Scotland should be independent.

He said: “Post-Brexit relationships with the EU could have taken many different forms and the damaging outcome with which we are now faced is the result of a political choice by the UK Government, and firmly against the wishes of Scotland.

“As a responsible Government, we are doing everything we can to mitigate against the consequences of the UK Government’s actions, but we cannot avert every negative outcome.

“We know that businesses are already struggling under the burden of Covid-19 and are now faced with the need to prepare for the economic shock of this hard Brexit.

“Our position is clearer than ever – Scotland now has the right to choose its own future, as an independent country and seek to regain the benefits of EU membership.”

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