By G.A.Ponsonby
The Labour party is today under pressure to explain why a council report which cleared First Minister Alex Salmond of any wrongdoing by visiting a primary school during a by-election, was ignored by Labour councillors who continued to issue accusations.
The emergence of an Aberdeen City Council report vindicating the First Minister on his impromptu invitation into Bramble Brae School followed a string of complaints by Labour councillors who claimed the First Minister had breached the Ministerial Code.

This weekend, a Sunday newspaper revealed that the report, clearing the First Minister, was known about at Aberdeen City Council as far back as June this year, but despite this Labour councillors continued to make baseless political attacks on Mr Salmond.

The report by the Head Teacher at the school confirms that the First Minister was invited into the school by a member of the parent council after teachers in the school discussed how beneficial such an opportunity would be and confirms that he was not accompanied by either “press or political colleagues”.

It also confirms that the media event highlighting efforts to save the school took place outside school property, stating that “at no point, as far as I am aware, did any of their activity move onto school premises”.

The report also states that a teacher present when Mr Salmond addressed the class confirmed that the First Minister “did not say anything to our young pupils that might be construed as electioneering”.

However as recently as last week, the leader of Aberdeen City Council, Barney Crockett, asked the UK’s top civil servant Sir Bob Kerslake to investigate Mr Salmond.  The Labour Councillor’s complaint received widespread media coverage and featured in BBC Scotland news reports.

Mr Crockett’s demands followed a decision by Scotland’s top civil servant, Sir Peter Housden, to dismiss an earlier complaint from the Labour councillor.

Commenting, SNP Group leader on Aberdeen City Council Callum McCaig said:

“This letter completely vindicates what the First Minister has said throughout this process, that he was invited into the school for an impromptu visit. However, it raises extremely serious questions for Barney Crockett and the Labour administration.

“It shows that the council was fully aware of the circumstances behind what happened as long ago as June, but Labour still tried to make repeated spurious and petty political attacks.

“If he knew of this report then it would have shown appalling dishonesty for Barney Crockett to have launched so many attacks on the First Minister, when the council knew as far back as June that what Labour were saying was baseless.

“When did Barney Crockett become aware of the contents of this report and why has he failed to apologise for the statements he has made which were clearly nonsense?

“There are very serious questions that need to be answered and Barney Crockett and Willie Young must publish their correspondence with officials regarding this matter as a matter of urgency.”


2013-08-26 07:00

……….but they still got their BBC sound bite.
2013-08-26 07:22

Labour – the leaderless political party lacking the basic human principles of Truth and Honesty.

Vote for ’em at your peril.
2013-08-26 08:37

Fired this .pdf email/report from the SNP site up onto the Guardian thread yesterday and challenged Labour activists to comment – dead silence says it all!
2013-08-26 09:30

How many times has Alex Salmond now been accused of breaking the ministerial code, only for him to subsequently cleared of all allegations? Do we have a count on this?

I don’t remember this amount of accusations ever being levelled at any previous First Minister.

It is quite the tired old unionist tactic now.
2013-08-26 10:47

As the P&J; was very prominent in reporting on this story I would have thought they would have something to say but as it has cleared the FM that is not in there best interest.
2013-08-26 11:48

Barney Crockett… more like Barney Rubble…

All we are asking for is open and honest debate and an objective press.
The Westminster controlled press, the P&J; included, need to a taste of democracy…post independence.
As the press will not change so in the meantime all we can do is get the message out to the public
2013-08-27 11:10

When Labour councils have to resort to this kind of tactic – they know the games a bogey and they’re just into a wrecking frenzy.

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