Senior SNP Minister accuses opposition parties of “guddling around on the edges”

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By Oliver Farrimond

EDUCATION Minister Mike Russell has slammed opposition parties’ attempts to uncover the truth behind the Scottish Government’s preparations for Scotland’s deep freeze.

Reacting to the news that the Scottish Conservatives had submitted several Freedom of Information requests, Mr Russell described them as “guddling around on the edges”.

He made the remarks while visiting Humbie Primary School in East Lothian yesterday, which has just re-opened following days of heavy snow.

He said: “I am absolutely not concerned about what the opposition parties’ freedom of information requests might uncover.

“I know that myself, my colleagues in government, every civil servant and right across the local authorities, everybody’s been working very hard indeed.

“I would suggest to the opposition parties that they should be rising to the challenge that Scotland has had, rather than guddling around on the edges.

“The challenge has been for everybody to work together, and work well together, and I’m convinced that we’ve done that.

“And we’ll go on doing it, as long as it’s required.”

With Scotland’s roads buried in snow for much of last week, several councils were forced to conserve grit supplies, with Fife Council running out of stock entirely at one stage.

And on Monday of this week, the chief executive of Peacock Salt claimed that he had warned more than 600 public bodies during the summer that salt supplies were too low to last the winter.

Now Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone has submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests to find out exactly how prepared the Scottish Government was for the deep freeze.

‘Triple whammy’

Mr Johnstone, Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, said: “Hopefully the worst of the conditions are now behind large parts of Scotland.

“But the melting snow is set to bring new challenges and a triple whammy of potential hazards for millions of Scots.

“Seeing as the severity of the weather was widely underestimated, it is likely the situation was even worse than he feared.

“Lessons must be learned so I will be submitting requests under Freedom of Information to find out just how much preparation the SNP Government and local authorities undertook ahead of the Big Freeze.”

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By Oliver Farrimond

EDUCATION Minister Mike Russell has slammed opposition parties’ attempts to uncover the truth behind the Scottish Government’s preparations for Scotland’s deep freeze.

Reacting to the news that the Scottish Conservatives had submitted several Freedom of Information requests, Mr Russell described them as “guddling around on the edges”.

He made the remarks while visiting Humbie Primary School in East Lothian yesterday (Tues), which has just re-opened following days of heavy snow.

He said: “I am absolutely not concerned about what the opposition parties’ freedom of information requests might uncover.

“I know that myself, my colleagues in government, every civil servant and right across the local authorities, everybody’s been working very hard indeed.

“I would suggest to the opposition parties that they should be rising to the challenge that Scotland has had, rather than guddling around on the edges.

“The challenge has been for everybody to work together, and work well together, and I’m convinced that we’ve done that.

“And we’ll go on doing it, as long as it’s required.”

With Scotland’s roads buried in snow for much of last week, several councils were forced to conserve grit supplies, with Fife Council running out of stock entirely at one stage.

And on Monday of this week, the chief executive of Peacock Salt claimed that he had warned more than 600 public bodies during the summer that salt supplies were too low to last the winter.

Now Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone has submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests to find out exactly how prepared the Scottish Government was for the deep freeze.

Mr Johnstone, Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, said: “Hopefully the worst of the conditions are now behind large parts of Scotland.

“But the melting snow is set to bring new challenges and a triple whammy of potential hazards for millions of Scots.

Seeing as the severity of the weather was widely underestimated, it is likely the situation was even worse than he feared.

“Lessons must be learned so I will be submitting requests under Freedom of Information to find out just how much preparation the SNP Government and local authorities undertook ahead of the Big Freeze.”

ENDS

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