By Lucy Ashton
Civil servants working for the Scottish Government have been accused of pushing pro-SNP propaganda using taxpayer cash.
A video posted on the official Scottish Government Twitter page this week has claimed the devolution settlement is being threatened by Westminster.
And Scottish Tory MSP Miles Briggs, pictured left, has said that is little more than an SNP conspiracy designed to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The video, posted on Tuesday, states “devolution has made Scotland a better and fairer place”. But it claims “post Brexit, the powers of the Scottish Parliament are vulnerable” and the nationalist government was “working to protect the gains of devolution”.
Westminster has recently blocked gender reforms that would have impacted on the UK-wide Equalities Act, using Section 35 of the Scotland Act, agreed in 1998.
The SNP have also manufactured outrage over the Internal Market Act and their botched deposit return scheme and are currently trying to brew another fight over drug laws.
Mr Briggs, a Conservative MSP for Lothian and shadow cabinet minister for social security housing and equalities, said it was “depressing to see civil servants being misused in this way to desperately promote the tired old SNP Westminster bad rhetoric”.
He told the Scottish Express: “Scottish Government social media accounts should not be acting as a mouthpiece for the SNP.
“These sorts of posts from supposedly impartial accounts are occurring far too frequently.
“SNP propaganda shouldn’t be getting promoted at the taxpayers’ expense and urgent clarification is needed as to why it was thought it was appropriate to tweet this on a government account.”
In the video, a female narrator lists Scottish Parliament ‘achievements’ such as free prescriptions, abolishing tuition fees and the baby boxes, recently branded a flop by opponents.
The narrator adds: “Despite this, the self government that Scotland voted for is now being undermined by Westminster.
“Seven years on from a Brexit that Scotland did not vote for, the UK Government has intervened in devolved areas to block legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament and imposed its own legislation without consent, putting animal welfare, workers rights and food standards at risk.”
The Scottish Government has already faced questions over its spending in non-devolved areas. Despite a Supreme Court decision last year confirming the constitution was a reserved matter, a team of 24 civil servants has been charged with producing pro-Scexit prospectuses at a cost of £1.4 million to the taxpayer.
The issue was raised in the House of Lords last week when it emerged the Advocate General had indicated he would probe Holyrood spending outwith its remit.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Social media channels are used to promote policies of the Scottish Government and this includes defending the Scottish Parliament.
“As Scottish Ministers have set out, recent actions taken by the UK Government – including blocking legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament and passing UK legislation without Holyrood’s consent on no fewer than ten occasions – are undermining the devolution settlement.”