Scottish Green co-leader Lorna Slater has been accused of “fleeing” the Holyrood debating chamber during a point of order demanding to know why she “misled” parliament.
The SNP/Green administration has come under increasing scrutiny for using inaccurate data over the course of a decade to oversell the prominence of renewable energy potential.
There is a clear discrepancy between the dates at which Ms Slater and SNP’s energy minister Michael Matheson discovered Scotland did not have 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind potential.
Mr Matheson let slip to the Westminster Scottish Affairs committee that ministers were first made aware of incorrect statistic in September, two months BEFORE the date Ms Slater gave at Holyrood.
Following First Minister’s Questions, Conservative MSP Liam Kerr pointed out: “Those statements cannot simultaneously be true, either Ms Slater has misled this place, or Mr Matheson has misled the House of Commons”.
Ms Slater also failed to update the record within the time allowed following an inaccuracy discovery, stating previously that the new information has not been concluded yet. The figure that was rubbished by the UK Statistics Authority last year is still in use.
Mr Kerr went on to ask the Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone to intervene and request that the Greens biodiversity minister appear before parliament to give a statement.
However, before he was able to finish his point of order, Ms Johnstone interrupted him to ask members of the chamber who were speaking over the Tory MSP to leave.
“I am slightly stunned to see the minister in question actually leaving the chamber as I’m speaking,” said Mr Kerr.
Speaking to the Scottish Express, he said: “I have made repeated attempts to establish whether Lorna Slater misled the Scottish Parliament when I asked her about the Scottish Government’s repeated use of a statistic they knew was bogus.
“Either she did, or Michael Matheson misled the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster. That much is indisputable.
“After weeks of ducking the question, Lorna Slater actually walked out of the chamber when I raised a point of order on the matter in parliament.
“Under this SNP/Green administration, dodgy statements, evasion and a lack of accountability have become the norm. We’ve got used to them not answering questions. Lorna Slater’s now added not having the basic courtesy of listening to them.”
Sam Taylor from These Islands, who first unveiled the fake facts, said on Twitter: “Lorna Slater today fled the chamber to avoid listening to Liam Kerr’s point of order, which cited irrefutable evidence that either Slater has misled the Scottish Parliament, or Michael Matheson has misled Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee.”
Ms Johnston said: “As the member will be aware, I’ve dealt with related matters before and I will repeat that matters in relation to the ministerial code are a matter for the Scottish Government.”
She went on: “All members are aware that it’s not the role of the presiding officer to make rulings on the accuracy of contributions.
“Rather it’s a matter for each member as to whether they consider the contributions to have been accurate, but if a member is dissatisfied with information that’s been provided to the minister, it remains open to them to pursue this issue.”
The Scottish Government has been asked to comment.
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