Tories accuse SNP MSP Stephanie Callaghan of spreading fake news
The Scottish Conservatives have accused an SNP MSP of "spreading blatant disinformation" in a row over GERS figures.
Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Stephanie Callaghan shared comments on Twitter by Sheffield University professor Richard Murphy describing the annual Government Spending and Review Scotland (GERS) figures as "a work of fiction".
The statistics cover revenues raised from Scotland through both devolved and reserved taxes, as well as public expenditure in both of these areas, setting out the country's net fiscal balance, or deficit.
First published in 1992, they have been handled by the Scottish Government since devolution in 1999.
This year's figures recorded Scotland's public spending deficit as £23.7bn, down from £36.3bn the previous year.
Callaghan said the results "provide no indication of what Scottish finances would look like in an independent Scotland" and are designed to "understate" the country's income and "overstate" expenditure, providing "little useful insight".
In a social media post, she shared a comment from accounting practice professor Murphy describing GERS as a "Tory vision of Scotland, into which they can sink as many costs as possible, so that they can make it appear that Scotland is a burden which they are, inexplicably, desperate to keep hold of".
Responding, the Scottish Conservatives accused Callaghan of "spreading blatant disinformation", saying: "The statements about 'understating income' and 'overstating expenditure' are 100 per cent false".
Calling on Nicola Sturgeon to "shut this down", Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: "The SNP are now pushing information that they know is wrong. This is straight up dishonesty."
Callaghan said that Scottish independence "will allow Scotland's government to utilise a deficit that invests and stimulates growth and prosperity".