Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP has written to Alex Salmond demanding that Local Government Minister Derek Mackay be suspended from his ministerial post until after the council elections on 3rd May.
Mr Mackay is also the SNP’s election coordinator.
Mr Rennie has voiced his concerns following a clear breach of ‘purdah’ rules yesterday when the Scottish Government made a major announcement on extra money for councils.
‘Purdah’ prevents the government from making announcements about new initiatives during an election period which could give the ruling party an unfair advantage by using civil servant and public resources. It is also designed to avoid committing incoming administrations to policies which they may not support.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:
“After the clear breach of ‘purdah’ rules by the Scottish Government yesterday, it is clear that they cannot be trusted to make the vital distinction between their public role and political campaign.
“Yesterday’s announcement on council funding stepped over the line of what is allowed during election periods. The SNP must have known this but chose to do it anyway in a desperate attempt to win support.
“Following this incident it is untenable for the SNP’s election coordinator to continue as Local Government Minister. Derek Mackay should be suspended for his ministerial role for the rest of the campaign.
“The public are increasingly suspicious of SNP motives and this move would go some way to reassure the public that the SNP is not using public office for political gain.”