SNP DEMAND FULL DISCLOSURE OF UK GOVT PRESSURE ON COMPANIES

SNP DEMAND FULL DISCLOSURE OF UK GOVT PRESSURE ON COMPANIES

REFLECTS THE WHISPERING CAMPAIGN ABROAD

The Scottish National Party announced today (Thursday) that it is tabling a series of Freedom of Information requests and Parliamentary Questions at Westminster to demand “full disclosure” of UK government activities to pressurise business people to speak out on behalf of the No campaign.

This follows the report in the today’s Financial Times that ‘several senior defence executives’ told the newspaper that they ‘were being pressed’ to oppose a Yes vote in the referendum – one senior defence executive said that UK officials were making “deft use of the dark arts” and that ministers have been doing this “energetically”.

The newspaper reports that: ‘The government’s decision to put pressure on companies to speak out against independence suggests anxiety about the referendum result in September.’

This reflects reports in the Sunday Herald newspaper that UK diplomatic resources are being used abroad to support a No vote and brief against an independent Scotland.

SNP Westminster leader and defence spokesperson Mr Angus Robertson MP said:

“These damning revelations expose the fact that UK Government Ministers are attempting to pressure companies which depend on MoD orders and contracts to speak out on behalf of the No campaign. We need to know which ministers and officials are involved, and what exactly they are doing and saying to exert this pressure. One senior defense company executive has accused the UK Government of making ‘deft use of the dark arts’.

“We also need to know the extent to which this is happening across other sectors of the economy, and the SNP will be tabling a series of Freedom of Information requests and Parliamentary Questions at Westminster to get full disclosure of this secret and underhand activity.

“The No campaign have been hoist by their own petard on this issue, given that they have now been exposed for indulging in exactly the kind of activity that they have falsely accused the Scottish Government of.

“We now have clear evidence of a furtive whispering campaign both at home and abroad in support of the No campaign, utilising public money, by a UK Government whose Prime Minister is too frightened to debate First Minister Alex Salmond face to face. It is clear that the No campaign is badly rattled.

“Independence will offer great opportunities for companies in all sectors – and it is to the credit of the companies involved here that they appear to have resisted the pressure they were put under by Westminster Ministers.”