BRITAIN’S most senior civil servant last night launched an inquiry into the leaking of a UK Government memo that claimed Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron to return to power. Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the civil service, announced the investigation as Sturgeon spent the day fending off suggestions that she favoured a Conservative government and had claimed that Ed Miliband was not Prime Minister material.
Heywood took the step after the First Minister said she had been the victim of “dirty tricks” by an “out of control” Whitehall system and repeatedly denied she had expressed the views attributed to her in the document drafted by a civil servant.The Cabinet Secretary acted after Sturgeon demanded a leak inquiry into the “inaccurate” memorandum, which gave an account of a meeting she had with the French Ambassador in February.
In the run-up to May’s election, Sturgeon has been winning over traditional Labour voters by saying the SNP will prop up a Labour-led administration on a deal-by-deal basis. There are those, however, who suspect the SNP leadership would secretly favour a Tory government because it would give momentum to their argument for independence.
The document claimed that Sturgeon had “no idea ‘what kind of mischief’ Alex Salmond would get up to; and confessed that she’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material). The document then records the civil servant noting: “I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be quite so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that, so it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.”
Yesterday a spokesman for Bermann told Scotland on Sunday: “They discussed a wide range of issues, mostly around Franco-British co-operation. They touched on the political situation, but Nicola Sturgeon did not touch on her political preferences for the next British Prime Minister – not at all.” Coffinier, who is based in Edinburgh, said: “As is usual we discussed the political. situation, which is normal. But at no stage did anyone make any comment on their preference for the United Kingdom election.”
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