Election 2015: Nicola Sturgeon hits out at ‘dirty tricks’
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has accused Whitehall of “dirty tricks” after a report emerged claiming she told a French diplomat she would prefer David Cameron in No 10 over Ed Miliband.
The Daily Telegraph published a civil service memo claiming Scotland’s first minister privately said Labour’s leader was not “PM material”.
Ms Sturgeon said in a tweet the story was “categorically, 100% untrue”.
She called for an “urgent inquiry” into the circumstances of the leak.
French officials said she did not express a preference for PM.
But Labour called the report “damning” and said that even if it was not true the “SNP are happy to see another Tory government”.
The Daily Telegraph published on its website a transcript of what it says is an official British government memorandum which includes details of a private meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to the UK.
Included in a civil servant’s summary is the line that Ms Sturgeon would “rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material)”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The real issue is how a second hand and inaccurate account of this meeting – which was not even attended by the UK government – came to be written by a UK Government civil servant and then leaked to Tory-supporting newspapers at the start of a general election campaign.
“It suggests a Whitehall system out of control – a place where political dirty tricks are manufactured and leaked. And the Foreign Office now appears to be denying the very existence of such a document.”
The French consul general in Edinburgh, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, whose comments are claimed to have been the basis for the leaked memo, has told the BBC Ms Sturgeon did not express any preference for a leader.