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by Chris Marshall
17 February 2021
Tory MSP says SNP government operating in an atmosphere of 'sleaze'

Adam Tomkins MSP - Image credit: Jane Barlow/PA Archive/PA Images

Tory MSP says SNP government operating in an atmosphere of 'sleaze'

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins has accused the SNP government of “sleaze and corruption”, likening it to his own party under John Major.

Speaking as part of a wide-ranging interview for Holyrood’s Politically Speaking podcast, Tomkins said there was a “palpable” sense that something is wrong in Scottish politics.

And he again attacked the SNP for attempting to make changes to Scotland’s freedom of information provisions at the start of the pandemic.

Tomkins, who is standing down at the election, said the government was “increasingly consumed by secrecy rather than openness”.

He said: “When you have a government that has been in power for a very long time – it doesn’t really matter what the party is – after a while you get to a tipping point. The government starts thinking it’s not very vulnerable, very exposed, and it starts covering its tracks.

“We’ve got to that point in Scotland now. It’s inevitable. I am a party political animal, but I’m not seeking to make a party political point. You could see the same happening to the Conservatives in John Major’s day in the early 1990s. The echoes in Scottish politics now to British politics then are growing more resonant almost by the day, certainly by the week.”

He added: “The atmosphere of sleaze, I called it corruption (in the Chamber)…the atmosphere, the smell, the sense that something is rotten, something is going wrong, is growing. It’s growing more palpable. We can all smell it – we can all see it.

“How can it be that in Scotland, we have the only government in Europe that sought to use the pandemic as an excuse for insulating itself from freedom of information legislation? How did we get to that point? We got to that point because we have a government that isn’t used to be scrutinized and, crudely, thinks it can get away with it.”

Asked how his own party had failed in its role as the opposition, he said: “The nature of the opposition’s failure is that the Scottish political conversation has not been resolutely focused on issues of domestic policy.

“(The conversation) has not been dominated by the urgency of school reform, the urgency of ameliorating child poverty, of doing something about the horrendous drug deaths record that we have in Scotland, the urgency of rescuing the economy from a decade of stagnation.

“What has (the conversation) been dominated by? It’s been dominated by the goddamn constitution. The failure of the opposition is to get away from the issue of the constitution and focus on issues of substantive policy that actually affect people’s ordinary lives.”

Listen to the full interview here or wherever you get your podcasts. 


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