The Labour peer behind a new Unionist group challenging Scottish Government spending has insisted it is needed to root out “bad-faith projects” and other “SNP excesses”.

Lord George Foulkes also said there must be “appropriate consequences” if Scottish ministers were shown to have spent money in areas reserved to Westminster.

If, on the other hand, spending on overseas offices and other matters were deemed to be within Holyrood’s powers, or "devolved competencies", then “the legal loopholes must be tightened”, he said.

Lord Foulkes makes the comments in an opinion piece for the Herald today.

READ MORE: Lord George Foulkes - Why we must rein in SNP abuse of taxpayers' money

Last week, he announced that he, former Scottish Tory leader Baroness Annabel Goldie and former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and deputy first minister Lord Jim Walllace had formed a new cross-party group.

The Unionist trio intends to challenge SNP ministers over taxpayers’ money being spent on independence planning, foreign “embassies” and international aid.

They are also urging the UK Government and the UK Civil Service to crack down on the controversial spending areas.

The group’s plan was queried by academics and criticised by SNP MPs.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry KC said unelected peers dictating what Holyrood "may and may not do is a fundamentally unpalatable state of affairs and should be seen for the nakedly Unionist political posturing it undoubtedly is”.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald added: “The devil makes work for idle hands.

"It’s long past time to retire these busybodies from their publicly subsidised ego trip - properly. Not in a gilded palace - at great expense to the public - but returning extremely low, if any, value.”

Lord Foulkes has been a frequent critic of the Scottish Government spending money on a new independence prospectus, despite there being no referendum in sight.

He has also raised the Scottish Government’s spending on a series of overseas offices, including in Brussels, Washington DC and Beijing.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that the Brussels office was used to distribute a document to EU countries on an independent Scotland joining the bloc.

READ MORE: Unionists are terrified of indy. You can smell the fear

The head of the Scottish Government’s EU Directorate, Martin Johnson, called it “our offer to the EU as a prospective member state”.

Writing for The Herald, Lord Foulkes said he and the other peers, all former MSPs, had set aside their differences to unite “in common cause for the greater good of Scotland”.

He said: “Lord Wallace, Baroness Goldie and I may disagree on many other issues, but on this central issue we share a view that also surfaces weekly in our inboxes: the SNP are spending taxpayers’ money on bad-faith projects at the expense of Scotland’s public services.

“An obvious example of this overreach is the huge public spend on new overseas ‘embassies’ in countries which already have a Scottish Development International (SDI) office. 

“Doubling up like this also causes confusion, for allied governments and businesses, around which channel should be used for communicating with the Scottish government, and it is fostering a deep resentment within Scots who would rather the money was spent on our NHS and education sector.

READ MORE: Experts weigh in on Unionist plan to restrict SNP government spending

“Unbridled spending is unwise even during times of economic growth, but it is particularly damaging for struggling families during this cost of living crisis. 

“It is therefore imperative that we resolve whether these actions can be classed as devolved competencies, as the SNP claim: if so, the legal loopholes must be tightened, and if not, there must be appropriate consequences.”