Davidson and Lamont Have Still Failed to Correct Their Own Errors

>> 23 November 2012


Opposition parties are on very dangerous ground with their accusations that SNP MSPs have misled Parliament, an SNP MSP has said, after the Labour and Tory leaders have still failed to correct their own errors in the Scottish Parliament’s Official Report.

And Labour gave more inaccurate information in the Chamber yesterday when James Kelly claimed the Scottish government have 250 spin doctors – when publicly available information shows that claim to be false.

Yesterday it was revealed that both Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson have made demonstrably inaccurate claims in the Chamber – but neither of them has made any attempt to set the record straight. This comes after First Minister Alex Salmond wrote to Official Report to have a figure corrected when he was made aware of an error.

The SNP can also reveal that, since new rules for Members for correcting inaccurate contributions were introduced in October 2011, only SNP MSPs have ever bothered to correct errors.

The events come as former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish today said that “Labour should stop hating the SNP."

The SNP have today repeated their call for both leaders to immediately contact Official Report to correct their own inaccuracies, and called on James Kelly to do the same.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson said:

“Nobody likes hypocrisy, and Ruth Davidson and Johann Lamont are both on very shaky ground.

“Both Alex Salmond and Mike Russell have corrected their mistakes and apologised to members – but the response from opposition members has simply been ever-more outrageous allegations, name-calling and abuse – which has even boiled over into attacking the Presiding Officer. Even Henry McLeish is now saying that Labour have gone way too far.

“Michael McMahon became the poster-boy for this week’s shenanigans, when he attacked the institution of the Parliament which he claims he is trying to defend.

“Since the new procedures were introduced, not a single opposition Member has ever bothered to correct their own mistakes. This is despite the fact that Ruth Davidson and Johann Lamont have each made demonstrably incorrect claims at First Minister’s Questions.

“Now another Labour member has misled the chamber - will Johann Lamont ask them to correct the record?

“Unfortunately for Labour, the rules on accuracy apply to their MSPs as well as government ministers.

“Both Ruth Davidson and Johann Lamont must follow Alex Salmond’s example and take action today to correct their mistakes – otherwise they and the parties they lead can have no credibility."


1. Corrections to the Scottish Parliament Official Record are published here:

No opposition politician has ever corrected the record.

2. Henry McLeish’s comments can be read here:

3. Yesterday in the Chamber Labour MSP James Kelly said:

“The Scottish Government has over 250 spin doctors"

As the following Freedom of Information request shows this is not correct:

Q - The number of media or press officers who work for your organisation in Scotland?

A - There are currently 38.5 (Full-Time Equivalent) Communications specialists in the core Scottish Government who deal with journalists as a significant part of their job. The majority of these individuals (35.5) are permanent Scottish Government employees and the balance (3) are temporary staff who are covering vacancies; e.g. where permanent staff have left the SG and we are in the process of backfilling their posts or where we have permanent staff on maternity leave. (The comparable figure for 1st May 2006 was 40.5, which included one temporary member of staff.)

4. Opposition leader’s inaccuracies in the Chamber:


(Official Report, 9 February 2012) Johann Lamont … Alex Salmond went to China and pulled off a master deal—the Chinese got an £800 million steel contract and we got two pandas…

(Official Report, 9 February 2012) Johann Lamont: … Alex Salmond is spending £800 million on steel—[Interruption]—and from that contract not a single job is being created in Scotland, at a time when 200 people are losing their jobs every day.

The total value of the principal contract for the Forth replacement crossing is £790 million, of which the steel component actually represents 5 to 10 per cent.

She has not corrected the record or acknowledged her comments misled Parliament.

Construction is supporting 1,200 direct jobs with more in the supply chain.


(Official Report, 4 September 2012) Johann Lamont … There are now fewer staff in the NHS than there were when he became First Minister; more than 5,500 staff members have been cut from the payroll, almost 2,500 of whom are nurses.

Not true. The June 2012 statistics published on 28 August 2012 by ISD show there are 3,574.3 WTE more staff in the NHS than there where when the FM took office.


(Official Report: 15 November 2012) Ruth Davidson: I will give a few examples of courses that are now no longer available under the education secretary’s stewardship: higher national certificate in diagnostic imaging—gone; higher national diploma in human resource management—gone; HND in technical support—gone; HND in network computing—gone; qualifications in healthcare and nursing—gone. Mike Russell has labelled those subjects 'hobbies', which they are anything but."

HND Technical Support

Colleges running same course:

Kilmarnock College
City of Glasgow College
Cardonald College
Langside College
Anniesland College
North Glasgow College
Edinburgh College
Forth Valley College
West Lothian College
Aberdeen College
Stow College
Cumbernauld College
Dumfries & Galloway College
Reid Kerr College – HND Computing Technical Support
James Watt College – NC Computing Technical Support
Adam Smith College
Lews Castle College

College that offers a similar course or includes a module that covers it:

Angus College
Perth College

HND Network Computing

Colleges running same course:

City of Glasgow College
Edinburgh College
Stow College
Adam Smith College

Colleges that offers a similar course or includes a module that covers it:

Cardonald College – HND Networking with Forensic Security
Anniesland College – covered in HND Technical Support
Forth Valley College – HND Computing: Technical Support (Includes Microsoft Certification)
West Lothian College – HNC Computing
Motherwell College
Dumfries & Galloway

HND Human Resources

College running same course:

City of Glasgow College

College that offers a similar course or includes a module that covers it:

Inverness College – CIPD Human Resources Practice and HNC Business
Edinburgh College – CIPD Intermediate Diploma in Human Resources Management
Cardonald College – HND Business
Langside College – HND Business
Anniesland College – HND Business
North Glasgow College – Business Foundation Degree
Forth Valley College – HND Business
West Lothian College – HND Business
Ayr College – HND Business Management
Kilmarnock College – HNC Administration and IT
Perth College – Business HND
Stow College – HND Business
Clydebank College – HND Business
Carnegie College – CIPD Certificate of HR Practice

HNC Diagnostic Imaging

Colleges that offers a similar course or includes a module that covers it:

Stow College – Access to Health Studies: Radiography
Perth College – Applied Sciences: Pathway to Medicine HNC

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