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SNP embroiled in allegations of secrecy after refusing to reveal outcome of probe into Fergus Ewing; the Inverness and Nairn MSP denies allegations that he bullied civil servants while he was a minister

By Scott Maclennan

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MSP Fergus Ewing.
MSP Fergus Ewing.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is again embroiled in allegations of secrecy after she refused to reveal the outcome of a probe into MSP Fergus Ewing.

The Inverness and Nairn SNP member was accused of bullying civil servants while he was a minister, allegations he earlier “completely rejected”.

But after word leaked out that the inquiry had concluded, Labour leader Anas Sarwar called for results to be made public but Ms Sturgeon refused.

She said she was unable to release the details because of data protection rules sparking accusations of a "culture of secrecy" in her government.

The timing couldn’t be worse for the government as it is still labouring to explain its decision-making process over the ferries fiasco.

Mr Sarwar rubbed salt into the SNP’s wounds by quoting the party’s own Westminster leader and Highland MP Ian Blackford.

He said: "We have to lead by example. We have to show leadership, and we have to make it very clear that those who work in this parliament, those that work elsewhere in society, need the fullest protection from bullying.”

Mr Blackford made those comments after bullying allegations were made against home secretary Priti Patel.

Mr Sarwar went on: "The public deserve to know the outcome of an investigation relating to ministers in the SNP government. That's an issue of public transparency," adding that the SNP has "a culture of secrecy and cover-up".

The First Minister said she and the Scottish government took "any complaints about any ministers very seriously".

Mr Ewing made no comment.

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