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by Louise Wilson
18 May 2023
FMQs: Douglas Ross calls for ministerial code investigation into Jenny Gilruth

FMQs: Douglas Ross calls for ministerial code investigation into Jenny Gilruth

Douglas Ross has called for Humza Yousaf to open an investigation into Jenny Gilruth following claims she may have broken the ministerial code.

Jenny Gilruth, who was promoted to education secretary in March, reportedly stopped rail improvement works taking place in her constituency when she was transport minister.

The Daily Mail reported the works were part of the decarbonisation scheme and would have caused eight days of disruption over Christmas. The newspaper says these works have still not been completed.

The Scottish Conservative leader, speaking at First Minister’s Questions, said it was a "clear cut sackable offence" and urged the first minister to launch an investigation into whether the ministerial code has been breached.

Ross said: “Jenny Gilruth appears to have pushed a change in order to give preferential treatment to her constituents at a higher cost to taxpayers and far more disruption to passengers.

“Does the First Minister think it's acceptable for a minister to make a political decision for her own benefit, instead of acting in the interests of all of Scotland?”

He also linked the move to the resignation of Chris Gibb, the former chief executive of Scottish Rail Holdings, amid claims of micromanagement. Ross asked the First Minister: "Did Chris Gibb resign because of ministerial interference?"

Yousaf said he "did not believe" the ministerial code had been broken and accused Ross of trying to "throw mud and hope some of it sticks".

He added: "What he's forgetting to mention is that this disruption, which would undoubtedly have been caused because of these works, wouldn't just affect the passengers travelling across Fife, but also Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen and other parts of the network too. So absolutely, I would expect that my transport minister, I would expect any member of the government, to make sure that they are taking account of all of those who might be impacted.”

Speaking to journalists after FMQs, he confirmed that he would “look at the detail” but added: “From the information I have in front of me, it does not look like there has been a breach. I can see perfectly legitimate reasons why Jenny Gilruth made the decisions she made at the time.”

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