Investigation into claims staffers for SNP MSPs used Holyrood stamps for general election

The Scottish Parliament
-Credit: (Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Holyrood bosses are investigating claims staffers for SNP MSPs used the taxpayer-funded postage system for the general election.

A probe has been launched into allegations stamps paid for by the public purse were passed to SNP candidates.

Holyrood expenses and postage are for parliamentary business, not party political purposes.

However, leaked messages from an SNP “office manager chat” show a conversation on postage.

One staffer wrote: “Guys, the new stamps. Can they be traced?”

Another responded: “Like who purchased them and what they’re being used for?”

A third pitched in: “I asked [name of non-SNP staffer] in the mailroom and he said no.”

The first individual in the group chat wrote: “Can they be traced back to who purchased them?”

A fourth piped up: “Not aware that they can.”

Another staffer for a senior MSP wrote: “If they can then a few people may be up in front of the corporate body.”

The corporate body is the Parliament’s governing board.

Parliament rules say postage must be used "only for parliamentary duties and must not be used for any other purpose, including party political purposes”.

In the complaint email to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, the individual who raised the alarm said:

“I am anonymously sharing a screenshot from the SNP office managers WhatsApp group chat due to my concerns that several MSPs are using stamps paid for by Scottish parliament expenses to pass to UK parliament election candidates for campaign activities such as sending target letters to hard to reach addresses.

“I’m concerned about this open discussion involving several members’ offices.”

The Parliament confirmed to the Record they are investigating.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said: “We take the use of publicly funded resources very seriously. Officials are investigating the matter to establish whether there has been any mis-use of parliamentary resources.”

Political parties and candidates hit voters with mail during elections, but they pay for the material and postage themselves.

The SNP has also had well-documented financial problems amid a police probe into donations.

A spokesperson for the SNP Holyrood Group said: "The Parliamentary rules are crystal clear that materials, including stamps, can only be used for Parliamentary purposes such as representing constituents and campaigning on their behalf.

"These exchanges, whilst obviously light-hearted, are being investigated as is appropriate and we would expect the offices of MSPs of all parties to cooperate with the Parliamentary Corporate Body."

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