Sunday, 09 September 2018 15:23

SNP RAISE SERIOUS CONCERNS OVER UK GOVERNMENT POLITICISING ACCESS TO MINISTERS

SNP MP Pete Wishart has written to the UK government’s Cabinet Secretary seeking urgent answers over whether or not access to UK government Ministers has been "compromised and dangerously politicised."

The SNP’s Shadow Leader of the House warned that the Cabinet Secretary must provide clear answers over why ministers have met with Scottish Tory MPs on numerous occasions, but have repeatedly and intentionally failed to meet with SNP MPs over constituency related issues when asked.

In one example, SNP MPs Pete Wishart, Chris Law and Stewart Hosie wrote to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, seeking a meeting to discuss delays to the Tay Cities Deal – the request was refused. However, it then emerged on social media that Liz Truss had instead chosen to meet with a Scottish Tory MP to discuss the very same issue.

Earlier this week, Home Secretary Sajid Javid met with another Scottish Tory MP to discuss a seasonal agricultural workers scheme just a day before a pilot scheme was announced. The meeting came after Pete Wishart MP had written several weeks earlier seeking a meeting over the issue, and after chairing an All-party Select Committee which recommended the introduction of a scheme.

However, it does not stop there. Secretary of State, Esther McVey and disabilities Minister, Sarah Newton, met with a number of Scottish Tory MPs including a visit to a local job centre in the constituency of Pete Wishart MP – whilst failing to inform him of her visit to his constituency.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said:

“It has become increasingly concerning that access to UK government Ministers has become compromised, dangerously politicised, and co-ordinated to give party political advantage to Scottish Tory MPs - something which I believe breaches the good faith of the Ministerial Code.

“I have seen a number of pictures of Scottish Tory MPs with Ministers promising to take up issues on behalf of their constituents. Yet, when I, and my SNP colleagues, have asked for similar meetings, we have either been refused, not given the courtesy of a response, or told that I can take it up with the Minister in the tea-room. This is utterly unacceptable.

“Access to Ministers, and being able to raise vital constituency issues, must be something that is afforded to all MPs. We are elected to serve the people of this country and every constituent should be afforded the same rights from Ministers. To politicise access for party political advantage is simply appalling, unacceptable and anti-democratic.

“This is a shocking abuse of Ministerial party patronage that goes against every principle of Parliamentary access. It must come to an end.”

Letter from SNP MP Pete Wishart to Sir Jeremy Heywood: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4fae14f57a18ee08253ffc251/files/563bbeb8-caff-4d5e-ac58-b9ca17282702/Cabinet_Secretary_7.9.2018.pdf

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