Politics

Nicola Sturgeon should say ‘as a lot as you’ll be able to’ over Fergus Ewing bullying claims probe, insists Inexperienced minister


Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to say “as much as you can” over bullying allegations made in opposition to her former Cabinet colleague Fergus Ewing.

Patrick Harvie, the minister for zero carbon buildings and energetic journey, mentioned governments had a duty to be clear whereas additionally defending their workers.

The Scottish Greens co-leader advised the Record he was assured the Scottish Government would “do its best to strike a balance between respecting its legal obligations and giving transparency where it can.”

Ewing, an SNP MSP, was reportedly the topic of a bullying criticism by civil servants when he served because the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism.

The allegations – which Ewing denies – had been made by three officers and escalated into a proper course of in 2020.

The probe was accomplished final yr – however the Scottish Government has sparked fury by refusing to touch upon the end result.



Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

When the matter was raised at Holyrood final week by Anas Sarwar, Sturgeon mentioned: “I am not in a position to get into these issues because there are very considerable legal data protection issues that I am bound by.

“Governments have an obligation of transparency, however governments even have an obligation to abide by the legislation on privateness and on information safety.”

Ewing left the Cabinet in May last year following the Holyrood election.

Harvie joined the Scottish Government later that year under a power-sharing deal between the SNP and Greens.

Asked if ministers should now confirm if the complaint was upheld, he said: “I feel the First Minister genuinely mirrored that there are authorized duties that an employer has to take critically.

“So as long as the legal responsibilities can be met, then there’s an argument for saying as much as you can about how issues and complaints of bullying are dealt with.

“I’d believe, following what the First Minister mentioned, that the federal government will do its finest to strike a steadiness between respecting its authorized obligations and giving transparency the place it may.”

Asked if the public had a right to know about complaints made against ministers, he added: “The problem is there’s this twin set of duties.

“As an employer, you do have responsibilities for respecting people’s privacy.

“One of the worst issues that may occur is that if complaints like this develop into politicised and was political footballs, in the way in which that among the Alex Salmond allegations did, and the complainers themselves are within the highlight.

“That’s going to make it harder for people to complain about their managers, or politicians about powerful people in the workplace.

“Complainers have to know they’ve confidentiality and their pursuits can be protected.

“At the same, there is a requirement for transparency about politicians.

“Trying to realize each is a troublesome factor and the federal government is correct to try to take each of these duties critically.”

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