CAMPAIGNERS have called for the Scottish Government to be kicked out of a prestigious international body that exists to “promote transparency”.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is facing a call to investigate claims ministers deliberately withheld public information.

More than 70 countries are signed up to the OGP, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand and most European nations.

However, ministers are to be reported to the body for allegedly “obstructing parliamentarians, journalists and other members of civil society” by blocking freedom of information (FoI) requests.

Concerns include claims that the government has failed to keep records of information that should be available and that FoI requests are often screened by special advisers for any potential political damage.

The move will be highly embarrassing for the government which sent its minister for parliamentary Joe FitzPatrick to Paris to sign Scotland’s first action plan in December 2016.

Fitzpatrick's plan promised to use the Washington DC-based OGP to improve the lives of Scotland’s citizens.

The OGP states on its website that to join it "countries must commit to uphold the principles of open and transparent government".

However, Labour MSP Neil Findlay is to write to OGP officials asking them to investigate whether the Scottish Government should be allowed to participate in the body.

Last night, hitting back, a spokesperson for FitzPatrick said: “This is a ridiculous suggestion from Neil Findlay - and exposes his posturing for the lame personal vendetta it is, rather than a serious attempt to improve access to information or transparency."

The row came after Holyrood last week unanimously condemned the Scottish government's performance over FoI requests and called for an independent inquiry.

Journalists from across Scotland's media have also signed an open letter raising concerns about the way the Scottish Government handles FoI requests.

Last night, Findlay accused the government of a "deliberate blocking and manipulation of Freedom of Information requests".

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Findlay said: "I am writing to the Open Government Partnership steering group chairs to ask them to immediately investigate the conduct of the Scottish Government and consider whether given their admission of guilt they can continue participating in this project."

In his letter to the OGP, he added: "I write to ask that you action Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) independent reporting mechanism team to investigate the conduct of the Scottish Government with respect to obstructing parliamentarians, journalists and other members of civil society from carrying out their work of holding it to account by withholding information requested."

The OGP said: “Our independent reporting mechanism researcher in Scotland has the mandate to conduct the review of the Scottish government's commitments to OGP."