Alex Salmond’s spin doctor was exposed last night for having attempted to stop an expert on referendums communicating to journalists that a two-question referendum plan was “not tenable”.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman report that spin-doctor Kevin Pringle urged Matt Qvortrup, a political scientist at Cranfield University, to retract his comments to The Times and write a letter saying he had not been reported accurately.
Dr Qvortrup had stated that the First Minister’s favoured scheme for the referendum ballot paper, where there would be one question on independence and another on Scotland acquiring full financial powers while staying within the Union, couldn’t be achieved.
Six emails released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the spin doctor had told Dr Qvortrup: “I will say that you contacted me and sent me a copy [of the letter to The Times], because we have spoken about such matters in the past. I would advise you not to take press calls, but to let this speak for itself.”
Scottish Labour who submitted the FoIA requests said the “big question” was whether the cover-up was orchestrated by the First Minister of Mr Pringle.
A third of poor countries’ debt to the UK is interest
A Freedom on Information request to UK Export Finance has revealed that a third of the debt owed to the UK by some of the world’s poorest countries consists of interest on the original loans, a figure debt campaigners condemn as “ridiculously high”, The Guardian reports.
MPs’ unreasonable food complaints
The Daily Mail published today the details of the ‘suggestions’ box from the House of Commons restaurants, revealing some MPs’ unreasonable demands. The “pedantic moans” included eggs being too ‘watery’, vending machine crisp packets being 10 grams too light and the beer being too expensive at £2.60 a pint.