ALEX Salmond has been accused of a "Tipp-Ex cover-up" after it emerged he quietly altered the Official Report, Holyrood's Hansard, to correct an error he had made about the number of green jobs in Scotland.
The First Minister is facing calls to make a second public apology inside a week after he told MSPs last month there were "about 18,000 people employed in renewable energy across Scotland".
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He used a loophole in parliamentary protocol to correct the Official Report, or record, to give the accurate figure of 11,000 three weeks later – but did not announce the alteration.
MSPs, including ministers, who have made a mistake in Parliament can write to the Presiding Officer and ask for the Official Report to be changed without having to make an announcement or write with an explanation to an MSP who asked a question.
The jobs error came to light yesterday, less than a week after Mr Salmond was forced to make a humiliating apology to MSPs after wrongly claiming that college funding had increased this year.
Education Secretary Michael Russell made the same error about college funding in June but apologised only on Tuesday.
Opposition parties demanded the First Minister appear before MSPs to apologise in the latest controversy about misleading Parliament.
Scottish Labour MSP Richard Baker said: "When asked about the number of jobs in renewable energy Alex Salmond tells the people of Scotland 18,000, but that's simply not true.
"He doesn't even apologise, he just gets the Tipp-Ex out and changes the official record."
Tory MSP Liz Smith, who had questioned Mr Salmond about the green jobs, said: "We know the SNP is obsessed with wind energy, but over-egging the benefits in such a spectacular way is not how to win the argument.
"He must now come to Parliament and explain why he did this – is he just going to blame an inaccurate briefing again, or that he gave the figure in good faith? How can the First Minister, who is urging the Scottish people to vote for independence, possibly expect them to trust him when he gets so many facts blatantly wrong?
"His actions this week are not those of a competent and credible First Minister."
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said: "This is an outrageous attempt by Alex Salmond to rewrite history.
"The First Minister is arrogant enough to think it perfectly acceptable to try to doctor the parliamentary record in secret."
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: "People will rightfully be concerned that this is a Government which only has eyes for independence and not for the day-to-day running of Scotland.
"This is compounded by the First Minister's attempt to cover up his blunder by changing the Official Report, without informing Parliament."
Mr Baker added: "When Alex Salmond is asked if he has legal advice on Europe he says yes – but that's not true either.
"Just last week on college funding he boasted to Parliament that he was giving the most exact answer ever given to any Parliament – and then a couple of hours later he was dragged back to admit he had misled Parliament.
"Alex Salmond seems incapable of telling the truth and clearly thinks he can take the people of Scotland for fools. Scotland deserves better. Scotland deserves a First Minister who is straight with the people of Scotland."
Mr Salmond gave the figure of 18,000 green jobs in First Minister's Questions on October 25.
His office wrote to Parliament officials on November 15 asking for the Official Report to be changed. The correction was not announced.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The First Minister has corrected the Parliament's Official Report to make it clear there now are 11,000 jobs supported by Scotland's renewable energy sector.
"Of course, renewable energy is a fast-growing industry, with offshore wind alone having the potential to create up to 28,000 jobs across Scotland.
"That requires the kind of consistent, unwavering public support shown by this Government, its agencies and by the First Minister himself, who just this week joined French turbine-maker Areva in announcing a deal that could create 750 manufacturing jobs in the east of Scotland."