Lothian MSP leads bid to prevent government early access to statistics

Lothian MSP Gordon Lindhurst has welcomed MSP’s backing for a bill that means Scottish Government Ministers will no longer have early access to official statistics.

The bill was brought forward by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, which Mr Lindhurst has convened since his election in 2016.

The Committee, voted in June to press ahead with plans to introduce a bill in order to stop early access for Scottish Government Ministers and advisers ahead of the official publication of statistics.

Mr Lindhurst gave thanks to the many experts who gave evidence to the committee, allowing the plans to be brought forward and hopes that it will herald a change in attitude as to how statistics are presented and debated going forward.

He also said that the principle behind the bill was ensuring access was on an equal basis, rather than a privileged one.

Commenting, Gordon Lindhurst MSP said: “It is very rare to see a committee bringing forward their own bill, so I am very pleased to have led the discussions surrounding the early access to statistics given to Government Ministers and advisers.

“From the evidence the Economy Committee gathered, it was apparent that there were very real concerns about how Ministers and advisers would have much more time in order to have their take on vital statistics.

“There were over 100 signatories from organisations ranging from the IPPR to the Adam Smith institute who voiced their concerns.

“The principle has been accepted that access to these statistics should be on an equal basis for all of Parliament, rather than Government getting privileged access.

“This was a fine example of how a Parliament Committee can hold the Government to account and I believe this will be a positive change in terms of transparency and openness in relation to giving fair access and a true reflection of data in the future.”