Sturgeon facing ‘cash-for-votes’ scandal after SNP minister overrules officials

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Sturgeon facing ‘cash-for-votes’ scandal after SNP minister overrules officials

The Express

NICOLA Sturgeon faced a deepening “cash-for-votes” scandal today after it emerged one of her senior ministers overruled civil servants on a £1m funding deal for crofters.

 Emails released to the Tories under freedom of information laws show mandarins were concerned the announcement of cash for housing could breach strict “purdah” rules in the run up to last month’s council election.

 But Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing ignored the advice and pressed ahead unveiling the windfall for 29 crofters on April 25.

It comes just days after Scotland’s most senior civil servant was embroiled in cover-up claims after officials admitted blunders in an in the days leading up to the May 4 ballot.

The Scottish Government’s permanent secretary Leslie Evans ruled the cash boost for shortly before the SNP replaced Labour as the largest party on the city council did not break election rules.

But it was revealed that civil servants and Ms Sturgeon’s official spokesman privately admitted it had been the “wrong call”.

Senior officials also called it “an error of judgement”, only for Ms Evans to omit their concerns in a letter to a Conservative MSP Douglas Ross dismissing an official complaint. Read More

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