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SNP transparency claims over Murdoch unravelling

April 30, 2012 10:43 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP has questioned the SNP's commitment to be open and transparent about their relationship with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp after it has emerged that the SNP has withheld information relating to meetings between Scottish Government special advisers and News Corp representatives.

Scottish Liberal Democrats submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government in July 2011 asking for details of all meetings between Scottish ministers and officials with News International representatives.

In their response, in September 2011, the Scottish government stated that they proactively released all information they held on meetings.

However, the release of information did not include the meeting between the First Minister's adviser and Frederic Michel of 11th February 2011.

Mr Rennie now wants answers. Commenting he said:

"The SNP have boasted about how open and transparent they are in all dealings with the Murdoch media empire.

"However, they had to admit that they did not reveal details of a meeting that took place between the First Minister and Rupert Murdoch in April 2008 in New York and now they are withholding information about meetings between ministerial special advisers and News Corp representatives.

"Something doesn't stack up. The SNP government has never volunteered information of meetings involving their special advisers. The meeting between the First Minister's special adviser and Frederic Michel could be just the tip of the iceberg.

"While the special adviser of Jeremy Hunt has quit following the Leveson revelations, the SNP are staying uncharacteristically quiet.

"Without full disclosure of all meetings between special advisers and News Corp representatives there will be the continued suspicion that the SNP have something to hide.

"We need to know why the SNP did not disclose the meetings of special advisers when Liberal Democrats made that specific request. This is a test of just how open and transparent the SNP are willing to be over their dealings with the troubled media mogul."