Arrest sturgeon

MSPs turn to data watchdog over Sturgeon’s private emails

Donald Cameron called for Nicola Sturgeon to publish all emails linked to her role as first minister
Donald Cameron called for Nicola Sturgeon to publish all emails linked to her role as first ministerTIMES PHOTOGRAPHER JAMES GLOSSOP
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Scotland’s information commissioner has been urged help MSPs who want to investigate Nicola Sturgeon for using a private email account for state business.
Labour wrote to the first minister and Daren Fitzhenry, the independent official responsible for enforcing freedom of information law, after The Times reported that civil servants had been ordered in 2015 to contact Ms Sturgeon on her SNP account for “urgent” business outside office hours.
Elaine Smith, the Labour MSP, and Donald Cameron of the Conservatives urged Ms Sturgeon to publish all emails related to her role as first minister.
“Any emails concerning government business should be covered by freedom of information legislation,” Ms Smith said. “But in light of the first minister’s failure to be transparent about her use of this account she should now begin to restore confidence by providing proof that no government business has been conducted or discussed through this account.”

There has been growing concern that some ministers and senior officials in Holyrood and at Westminster are using private email to circumvent freedom of information requests and thus avoid scrutiny.

Ms Smith said in her letter that Ms Sturgeon should ask her independent advisers to investigate whether the use of the SNP email address breached the ministerial code of conduct.
There are strict rules around data retention on government email systems that do not apply to a political party’s server.
Ms Sturgeon has said that she does not “generally use email to do government business” and that she usually did so on paper. Her spokesman accused Labour of smear and innuendo, saying: “As we have made clear, the FM’s personal email is used to flag urgent, out of hours issues, which would normally relate to diary matters, such as travel arrangements.”

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