THE Prime Minister has been called on to intervene in a complaint that Scottish Secretary David Mundell breached the Ministerial Code as senior civil servants attended a “clearly party political” meeting arranged by a Conservative MP.

UK Government civil servants are not permitted to participate in political meetings, but SNP MP Deidre Brock claims an event set up by Luke Graham to debate how millions of pounds of public money should be dished out falls into this category – and that it was also in opposition to the official body.

Graham set up the Clackmannanshire Investment Forum (CIF) to discuss how to spend £8 million of the £90m of UK and Scottish Government money provided as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

However, the Clackmannanshire Commission – overseen by the local authority – has responsibility for identifying and developing projects which will receive funding in Graham’s constituency of Ochil and South Perthshire.

Graham MP boasted that “UK Government civil servants from the Scotland Office” will attend his CIF meetings, and it is understood one of the most senior civil servant from David Mundell’s Government department was at the first CIF meeting held in Alloa Town Hall last week.

Brock, the MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, has written to Prime Minister Theresa May to complain. She said: “It is clear that the organisation set up by the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire – a Conservative backbencher – is a party political organisation set up in opposition to the usual official consultation carried out by the council.

“It is also clear that the Secretary of State has asked his officials to take part in these meetings which are clearly party political rather than an exercise in governance.” Mundell told a recent meeting of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee that he is “very open” to allowing civil servants to “engage” with MPs directly.

When Brock asked if that extended to “potentially party political promotions”, Mundell said: “I don’t think that is in any way an accurate characterisation.”

The leader of Clackmannanshire Council, Ellen Forson, has also complained to Mundell that Graham’s CIF meeting is “extremely confusing” to locals who, she claims, may have been “misled”. She added: “It was my understanding, as with every other City Deal, that it was for the local authority to determine governance structures for the area and this seems to fly in the face of that.”

Mundell accepted that “it will ultimately be for the council to submit proposals to Government” but he added that “I hope that Luke’s Forum will help to generate some ideas and that you will give these some consideration through the work of the Clackmannanshire Commission”.

A spokeswoman for Graham confirmed that Mundell’s deputy, Lord Ian Duncan, was at the MP’s meeting along with civil servant Neil MacLennan, the head of City Deals and Local Government at the Scotland Office.

Graham was not available for interview. A spokeswoman supplied a prepared statement in Graham’s name which accused the SNP of “trying to make this overtly political”. It added: “I have fought for the additional investment from the UK Government directly with the Treasury and will continue to stand up for my constituency by looking for long-term opportunities. To this end, I will work with all parties to ensure its success but will not be bullied by the SNP.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “ The UK Government is investing £45m in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire Deal, and it is right that UK Government ministers and officials work closely with local partners to turn proposals into reality.”