NICOLA Sturgeon has been urged to take action over a "culture of contempt at the heart of the SNP Government". 

The Scottish Conservatives have raised renewed concerns over the social media use of the First Minister's taxpayer-funded special advisers. 

The party highlighted tweets it claims breach code of conduct rules by attacking rivals and making pro-SNP political points. 

Tory chief whip Miles Briggs MSP previously raised concerns about the Twitter use of Ms Sturgeon's chief of staff, Liz Lloyd. 

READ MORE: Sturgeon's top aide accused of multiple code of conduct 'breaches' on Twitter

However the Tories have now pointed to further tweets by seven other special advisers. 

The Scottish Government’s Code of Conduct for Special Advisers says they “must not take public part in political controversy, through any form of statement whether in speeches or letters to the press, or in books, social media, articles or leaflets". 

It adds: "They must observe discretion and express comment with moderation, avoiding personal attacks, and would not normally speak in public for a minister, or the Scottish Government."

Among the tweets highlighted by the Tories is one by special adviser Colin McAllister in 2017, which reads: ‘So, Nigel Farage likes the PM's speech. That's how far right the Tories have already travelled and we haven't even got to Brexit yet."


Another by adviser Ross Ingebrigtsen in 2017 said it was "indefensible that Tories amended VAT rules for Highways England and academy schools but won't for Police Scotland".


Elsewhere, tweets by special adviser Davie Hutchison were also highlighted, including one in response to Labour MP Ian Murray. 

Last year, Mr Murray tweeted that Labour had informed his deputy leadership campaign team "that the data to contact party members will now cost £6,000, an increase of £1,000".

He added: "This has been given to us at the 11th hour. It’s a disgrace to be charging for it at all but to do this so late is unbelievable."

Mr Hutchison responded: "At what point does the Labour leadership contests formally become an extortion racket?"


Meanwhile Kate Higgins, another adviser to Ms Sturgeon, tweeted in 2019: "I cried a lot at the death of [former Labour leader] John Smith. 

"He was neither a pal nor a fan of the SNP but could still recognise his loss to the body politic and what his death might have meant for all our efforts to rid Scotland of the Tories."

Scottish Conservative chief whip Miles Briggs MSP said: "This dossier of evidence is incredible. 

"When the First Minister’s chief of staff was exposed for flagrantly breaking civil service rules it was shocking.

"But it is clearly not a case of a single rogue special adviser who thinks they can flout the rules.

"We now see seven others in Sturgeon's inner circle who are all on the civil service public payroll yet pump out blatant SNP propaganda.

"I had already raised concerns about Liz Lloyd with the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, who has responded by telling me it is a matter for the First Minister.

"I have not yet had a reply from Sturgeon and will now write to her again. 

"Does she not know what her inner circle are doing? Does she have no control over them?

"This culture of contempt at the heart of the SNP government is an affront to the vital rules of civil service neutrality. 

"Our civil service can't become an extension of the nationalist's propaganda unit."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Paragraph 12 of the code of conduct makes very clear that special advisers ‘are able to represent ministers’ views with a degree of political commitment that would not be possible for other civil servants’.

"The First Minister will reply shortly to Mr Briggs."