By Bob Duncan
Several senior opposition MSPs, including the Scottish Labour and Tory leaders, have been invited to correct the public record of mistakes they have made in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.
The advice follows a number of occasions where apologies have been made to parliament by various SNP ministers over the past weeks.

First Minister Alex Salmond was forced to make an embarrassing apology when he read out the wrong figure for the total 2010/11 spending on the college sector during FMQs.  This also led to education Secretary Mike Russell apologising for the same error a few days later.

The First Minister has faced accusations by Labour MSPs in particular that he deliberately lied when reading out the wrong figure.  However it has emerged that similar errors have been made by these same opposition MSPs that have yet to be corrected.

The SNP's Bob Doris MSP has written to Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson and James Kelly pointing out instances in which they each made demonstrably incorrect statements but have failed to correct themselves.

On Thursday last week, Labour's James Kelly claimed that the Scottish Government has over 250 'spin doctors' working for it.

In reality, a Freedom of Information response published on the Scottish Government's website confirms that there is in fact less than forty full time equivalent communications staff in the Scottish Government.

And at a recent First Minister's Questions, Ruth Davidson claimed that a host of college courses were no longer available.

Davidson said: "I will give a few examples of courses that are now no longer available under the education secretary’s stewardship: Higher National Certificate in diagnostic imaging - gone; Higher National Diploma in human resource management - gone; HND in technical support - gone; HND in network computing - gone; qualifications in healthcare and nursing - gone.

As was pointed out by the First Minister during First Minister's Questions last week, those courses are in actual fact still being studied by students in Scotland.

In another example from earlier this year, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont claimed that £800 million was being used to purchase steel for the Forth Replacement Crossing from China.

On 9 February 2012, Ms Lamont said: "Alex Salmond went to China and pulled off a master deal - the Chinese got an £800 million steel contract and we got two pandas".

Later in the same session, she said: "Alex Salmond is spending £800 million on steel, and from that contract not a single job is being created in Scotland, at a time when 200 people are losing their jobs every day."

In fact, the principle contract is worth a total of £790 million and of that the cost of steel for the project represents between 5-10% of that value.

Additionally, Johann Lamont has also previously claimed in the chamber that there are fewer NHS staff in Scotland now than when the First Minister came to office.

In fact, official ISD Scotland statistics show that there was 127,061.90 full time equivalent NHS staff in September 2006 compared to 130,363.20 in June 2012 - a rise of over 3000.

Bob Doris said:

"Any politician can inadvertently give wrong information to Parliament.  When it is drawn to their attention then it is only reasonable to expect that they correct the public record.

"However people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and after the sound and fury there has been from the opposition parties recently I think there can be little doubt that they should own up to their own mistakes.

"When I have made an error in the past I have corrected myself, as all MSPs should be prepared to do.  Having made mistakes in the chamber, they should have the grace to hold their hands up and correct the public record.

"The need to clear things up when someone gets it wrong in the chamber applies to all MSPs, not just Government ministers.

"People rightly expect that when politicians get it wrong, they admit to their mistakes.  That is what we have done and that is the same principle that other parties should uphold.

"I would hope that these MSPs will reflect on what they have said and accept that they need to set the record straight."


# Marian 2012-11-28 09:30
I'm prepared to bet that no apology or retraction will be forthcoming from the unionists for "errors" as it would detract from what it really is, which is their bare-faced lying in order to smear Alex Salmond with anything and everything they can think of whilst playing to the TV and press gallery.
# Silverytay 2012-11-28 09:35
Hell will freeze over before anyone from Labour will correct any mistakes they make.

Labour's sole reason for functioning now is to oppose the S.N.P with lies, smears and innuendo.

Any thought of proposing new policies that might improve conditions for the people of Scotland were thrown out of the window in 2007.
# Mei 2012-11-28 09:51
MSP's Expense claims

Some interesting differences

Two MSPs based in the Scottish Borders

John Lamont Con Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire £28,688
Paul Wheelhouse SNP South Scotland £11,432

Two MSPs in the northern Isles

Liam McArthur LibDem Orkney £52,878
Tavish Scott LibDem Shetland £34,856

The last time I looked at a map Shetland was a lot farther North than Orkney

The Party Leaders

Ruth Davidson Con Glasgow £20,440
Willie Rennie LibDem Mid Scotland and Fife £19,739
Johann Lamont Labour Glasgow Pollock £17,831
Alex Salmond SNP Aberdeenshire East £13,361
# tartanfever 2012-11-28 10:01
Question for you NNS. When Davidson claimed these courses had 'gone' - you reply with this:-

As was pointed out by the First Minister during First Minister's Questions last week, those courses are in actual fact still being studied by students in Scotland.

Will these courses continue in the future or are they being dropped once the current intake graduates ?
# JRTomlin 2012-11-28 18:08
So it is all right to make a statement that something is happening NOW if the event might happen sometime in the future?
# tartanfever 2012-11-28 20:10
No thats not ok.

However, if these courses are going to be axed and are just waiting for the current intake to graduate - then the claim that these courses are continuing is, in my mind, false.

[Admin - Comment edited]
# Jim Johnston 2012-11-28 10:40
There will be no apology from any Unionist.
There will be no balanced debate or unbiased reporting from the BBC. ditto MSM.
There will be no let up in attacks on Scotlands FM or the SNP.
There will be no definition of what No will mean for Scotland should they vote to support anti-Independence.


I believe that the Unionists well know already that Independence is a very real danger to their "vision" for Scotland, and will resort to absolutely anything to STOP SCOTLAND. Hence their ferocious propaganda war on Scotland.

[Admin - Comment edited.]
# Jim Johnston 2012-11-28 11:01
Fair enough ed, it's up to anti-Independents to look to their own future, not me.
# bringiton 2012-11-28 12:03
The London based parties are just using Holyrood as a platform to get their lies and smears published by their friends in the media.
Blatant propaganda which will continue as long as it gets an airing outside Holyrood.
# stewart kellett 2012-11-28 12:27
I think the SNP will have to rise above all the attempts to smear them. The Scottish people are not stupid, they realise that the opposition would do anything apart from telling the truth. Their strategy of doing our government and our FM down at all costs will back fire. The question is what will they then do when Scotland votes for independence? The pro independence campaign has mountains to climb when they not only have to combat the outragous slurs of the no campaign but also the blatent bias and disregard of the BBC to Scotland and the independence debate.I do believe the Scottish people will respect the way the yes campaign is conducting its self in face off this propoganda.
# theycantbeserious 2012-11-28 12:39
Should deliberate lying to the house not be punished by loss of job/position. These people are elected to represent their constituency and not their political line. The electorate deserve truth and honesty which are fundamental in civilised society. Failure to act honourably and honestly should be punished and seen to be punished. How can polititions/lords expect society to act within the law when they do not lead by example. Scotland must do what wasteminster fail to and that is to represent their people and not themselves!!
# Independista 2012-11-28 18:04
In October of last year, in an attempt to wrong foot the FM, Johann Lamont referred to a rape case where the victim of rape was said to have attempted suicide three times, following a distressing trial which included her having to hold up her underwear in court. Check 14min51 sec in.
Alex Salmond agreed to look into the case,
However, the Crown Office issued a note to newspaper editors saying they had no knowledge of a case taking place that included the details referred to
by Lamont to the FM.
ON October 14th The Evening Times, from where she presumably got her information subsequently issued an apology deeply regretting “any 
hurt or offence our reporting may have caused.”
No such apology was submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Johann Lamont or the Labour Party.

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.


Donate to Newsnet Scotland


Latest Comments