Tories Demand That Sturgeon Breaks Silence on 'Cash for Votes' Row

By Peterkin, Tom | The Scotsman, May 5, 2017 | Go to article overview

Tories Demand That Sturgeon Breaks Silence on 'Cash for Votes' Row


Peterkin, Tom, The Scotsman


Nicola Sturgeon is under mounting pressure over claims the SNP administration attempted to influence voters by ignoring rules around government cash announcements in the run-up to the local election.

The Scottish Conservatives have raised questions about Scottish Government announcements of £1 million for 29 crofters and £1m for the seafood industry at a time when civil servants arebound by strict impartiality rules.

Ms Sturgeon's opponents have accused the Scottish Government of using public money to "win"votes.

Earlier this week it emerged that the Scottish Government announced a £8.35m cash injection for urban regeneration in Glasgow less than 48 hours before the polls opened for the council elections.

As the public cast their votes in the local election yesterday, the Conservatives drew attention to two more announcements made less than ten days before polling day.

Nine days ago, the Scottish Government announced more than £948,000 to help crofters in rural areas benefitfrombetter housing. The cash is to be shared between 29 crofters.

Shortly afterwards, £1m from a EU fund, administered by the Scottish Government directorate Marine Scotland, was announced for the seafood industry.

The boost came the day after the SNP was involved in a row over the party's position on fishing. Two SNP politicians - Mike Weir, the Angus MP and party's chief whip, and Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford - backed a campaign to keep the country free of Common Fisheries Policy rules, a cornerstone of Brussels rules. They backed the campaign despite the SNP wanting an independent Scotland to be partoftheEU.

Guidelines for civil servants, bound by rules on impartiality, state they mustensure public cash is not used for party political purposes. …

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