TAXI FOR STURGEON: SNP ministers use limos to take them home from lavish leaving do

The former First Minister held a joint leaving do with John Swinney at the posh Ghillie Dhu pub in Edinburgh which was attended by her closest allies, including politicians, advisers and office staff, according to a report in the Scottish Daily Express.

Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney held a party after leaving their roles in Edinburgh.

A dozen prominent SNP ministers, including First Minister Humza Yousaf, used taxpayer-funded ministerial cars to drive them home after attending Nicola Sturgeon’s leaving do in a move described as an abuse of public funds by critics.

The former nationalist leader held a huge party at the Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh on March 23 to mark her officially leaving her role. It was reported to be for the “SNP elite” and was attended by her husband Peter Murrell following his resignation as chief executive.

But now it has been revealed that 12 of the attendees who were government ministers were taken back to their homes by chauffeur ministerial vehicles.

This is despite them not being at official government business and instead being at a night out for their departing colleague.

Records published online show that SNP ministers, including Mr Yousaf and his deputy first minister Shona Robison, were driven to private addresses following the boozy knees-up.

Others were current health secretary Michael Matheson, equalities chief Christina McKelvie, her husband deputy SNP leader Keith Brown, drugs minister Elena Whitham, well-being secretary Neil Gray, net zero secretary Mairi McAllan, pictured right with Nicola Sturgeon, finance chief Tom Arthur, justice secretary Angela Constance and key Sturgeon ally John Swinney.

The Ghillie Dhu is a pub in central Edinburgh and played host to 100 of Ms Sturgeon’s key allies who enjoyed some drinks. It was a joint leaving do for her and Mr Swinney after they took park in their final First Minister’s Questions.

During the party, Mr Swinney made a speech where he praised Ms Sturgeon before she gave a reportedly “mini-stand up routine” to an audience of SNP politicians, advisers and staff. National clinical director Jason Leitch also attended.

It is not known whether she used her ministerial car to take her and her husband Mr Murrell back to their home in the outskirts Glasgow as her travel records are not released on safety grounds, despite her no longer being First Minister. Opposition parties blasted this use of the service.

Tory MSP for Glasgow Annie Wells said: “The public who are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis will find this widespread use of the ministerial car fleet by senior SNP figures deeply inappropriate.

“Ministerial cars serve a purpose for official business, but they shouldn’t be used to ferry home a dozen nationalists after a night out in the capital.

“They shouldn’t be abusing this privilege at taxpayers’ expense and there is simply no justification for this waste of resources.”

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