The SNP’s depute leader has deleted a tweet after being accused of “spreading misinformation” by Labour.

Keith Brown shared a post from the Stats for Lefties account on the social media site which claimed Sir Keir Starmer’s party would “not oppose the government's plan to deny benefit claimants access to free prescriptions and dental care.”

The post went on: “Instead, Labour's Shadow DWP Secretary Liz Kendall says that the government is not going far enough....”

However, the frontbencher did not say that. The tweet was seemingly based on an interpretation of a journalist's analysis. 

The Herald:

Mr Brown's post also shared a comment from another Twitter user saying that "anyone thinking of voting Labour in Scotland should be aware, given these things are currently free to everyone."

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Labour's deputy leader, Dame Jackie Baillie said the tweet was particularly embarrassing for Mr Brown as he is in charge of the SNP's rebuttal service, tasked with tackling disinformation.

Dame Jackie said: “It is deeply worrying - but perhaps not surprising - that the man supposedly in charge of the SNP’s fact-checking service has been caught red-handed spreading misinformation.

“For months, the SNP has been caught up in spin, secrecy, and scandal.

“Just last week Michael Matheson confessed to misusing his parliament iPad, and then misleading the public about it when he was caught.

“The SNP can no longer be allowed to act with impunity. Humza Yousaf must bring discipline to his party and ensure that his MSPs are no longer given free reign to spread misinformation and lie in the name of the SNP.

An SNP spokesperson said: “Dame Jackie Baille has some brass neck to chastise anyone for misleading the public when Labour is consistently trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes to hide their shameless lurch to the right.

“Whether it be sacking eight of its front bench for calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, a position that has seemingly changed in a matter of days, or criticising the SNP’s council tax freeze, despite Labour declaring that it would use Scotland's North Sea profits to fund a Council Tax freeze in England - Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will stop at nothing as they try to win over Tory votes in England.

“People deserve better than corrupt and lacklustre Westminster parties focussed on political point scoring and ignoring their priorities while they grapple with Westminster's cost of living crisis - the SNP will continue to deliver where it can for ordinary workers and show that a better future as an independent nation is possible."

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Last week, the UK Government said they would cut off free prescriptions and legal aid in England for benefit claimants deemed fit to work who do not seek employment.

More details are expected to be announced in today's Autumn Statement. 

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said those who could work would be forced to accept a job or undertake work experience to improve their prospects.

Those who fail to do so will be hit with “immediate sanction”.

A new “function” will also be introduced to the Universal Credit service which will enable work coaches to digitally track a claimant’s attendance at interviews and fairs to give them “better evidence” of an individual’s job search activities and leave those who do not attend open to sanctions, the Government said.

People who are deemed to have disengaged will be targeted, with individuals on an open-ended sanction for more than six months and solely eligible for the Universal Credit standard allowance having their claims closed.

This would end their access to other benefits such as free prescriptions in England.


Mr Stride said: “Our message is clear: if you are fit, if you refuse to work, if you are taking taxpayers for a ride – we will take your benefits away.”

Replying, Ms Kendall said: “This poor excuse of a proposal does nothing to fundamentally change the state of our health service or our Jobcentres after a decade of failure from the Tories.

“A record 7.8 million people are still stuck on NHS waiting lists and 2.6 million people are trapped out of work due to long term sickness, with the increase since the pandemic alone costing the taxpayer an extra £15.7 billion a year.

“A healthy nation is critical to a healthy economy. But look beneath the bonnet of today’s announcement and you will see more of the same: a failing approach that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problem.”