THE cabinet discussions of a serving government are made public for the first time today, as the National Records of Scotland opens files from 2007.

The papers reveal the early decisions and dilemmas for Alex Salmond’s SNP as the party entered office for the first time and had to operate as a minority administration.

The papers also include the final months of the Labour-Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive led by Jack McConnell, which lost power at the Holyrood election in May 2007. 

The files are being made available to the public as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to proactively release records after 15 years.

Until now, such documents have always covered a previous government.

However the SNP’s unprecedented time in power means today’s release feature a continuously serving party of government for the first time, with Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney appearing in prominent roles.

Some parts of the records, covering legal advice and freedom of information, have been redacted.

The files will be accessible free of charge via the ScotlandsPeople website from 4 January. 

Welcoming the latest release, SNP minister for Parliamentary Business George Adam said: "These records are a valuable resource for historians, journalists and anyone with a general interest in both the workings of the Scottish Government and Scotland’s recent history.

"The wide range of documents from 2007 being made available by NRS for the public to view and download for free demonstrates a continued commitment to openness and transparency."

NRS chief executive Paul Lowe said: “The Scottish Cabinet records provide a unique insight into the inner workings of the Scottish Government and the key issues of that time.

“These extensive records cover a wide range of important topics, including transport issues such as the Forth Replacement Crossing and the Edinburgh tram line, as well as the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the name change from ‘Scottish Executive’ to ‘Scottish Government’.

“Their publication is part of NRS’s commitment to making more of our collections accessible online to a much wider audience, wherever you are.”