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SNP independence ambassadors are appalling use of public funds

July 23, 2012 12:17 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has slammed SNP government's plans for a "rival foreign office" to cheerlead their independence plans across the globe. Mr Rennie has called for the plans to be withdrawn and labelled it an abuse of the civil service to achieve political gains in a letter to Sir Peter.

Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

"Alex Salmond and his merry band of globe-trotting independence ambassadors is an appalling abuse of public funds. The Permanent Secretary must reverse farcical plans to create a new foreign office within the Scottish Government.

"As part of the United Kingdom we are served by the world's biggest diplomatic network, yet Alex Salmond will use our taxes to set up a foreign office outfit for his independence campaign. This is before he has even asked the Scottish people if they want to live in a separate country.

"Far from putting jobs and the economy first he is blatantly putting his interests at centre-stage.

"It is insulting to voters and hard-pressed taxpayers. This empire building is not only a waste of money but could also be against Scotland's interest if other countries believe Scotland may leave the United Kingdom family. The uncertainty could drive away investment and trade, causing confusion and chaos in diplomatic circles.

"Alex Salmond won a mandate to ask Scotland whether we wanted to remain part of the UK or not, but this does not extend to using public funds to hire highly paid Ambassadors to make the case for an independent Scotland. The SNP should not be abusing the civil service to achieve political gain.

"Alex Salmond should recognise that his plans are grossly at odds with public wishes. They must be reversed immediately."