Campaign group Scotland in Union have not been far from controversy in recent weeks, following membership splits and a data leak purporting to contain personal details of donors.
To follow up on this story we put in an FOI request to the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission duly supplied a trove of emails which we publish in full below.
Eagle eyed journalists at the Herald and Times group have already spotted these emails on the Electoral Commission disclosure log, and fair play to them, they’ve managed to scoop us on our own FOI.
You can The Herald ‘exclusive’ version of the story here, and The National take here.
The Electoral Commission have confirmed to us today that there is still an ongoing investigation into Scotland in Union, and that the scope of the current investigation includes the donations disclosed in the donor data leak.
Internal Electoral Commission emails include a record of a phone call from Pamela Nash, the Chief Executive of Scotland in Union, which took place on January 5th 2018. This follows press coverage of the SiU data leak. Here’s how their transcript goes:
. PN commenced by referring to information stolen from their organisation and the police
were considering. I said we were not seeking this apparently stolen information from those
organisations who might have received it, but would be writing to her organisation to
establish whether they had complied with the rules as a MPG and I hoped that they would
be able to satisfy us in that regard.
. PN considers we should have responded to her email today and that our media line today
_is misleading. _
. I explained that we were not obliged to provide an advice service by immediate response,
but in the context of this matter as statutory regulator we were considering the issues
consistent with our enforcement Policy, and as indicated would be writing to her
organisation next week. Our reply would take into account and address the points PN had
raised in her email as part of that.
. Also that our media line is not misleading, it is in fact accurate, irrespective of her concern
on how some elements of the media might choose to report matters. I also said
nevertheless in view of her concern we would reflect on this sort of standard media line, but
I thought it was right in view of our role as regulator and I trusted PN would respect that we
have to proceed consistent with our Enforcement Policy process.
. I also corrected her assertion that we had been pro-actively speaking to the media,
explaining that our Comms Team had simply responded to media query received, with what
is a brief standard type line.
. PN thought we should apologise for not responding to her email and our media line. I said I
could not see that was appropriate as we are doing our job as regulator in a normal way.
PN said she might or would complain further. I said we have a complaints process. I said
that I respected her concerns, but I doubted I would be able to allay them from her
perspective. I said we were not responsible for how the media accurately or otherwise
. The line went dead at PNs end of the line.
PN sent an email to James saying her line had failed and could I ring back. I did twice, but got
voicemail twice. I left a message I had called back.
There are three files of correspondence with Scotland in Union. You can peruse them all at your leisure below.
Photo: Pamela Nash, Chief Executive, Scotland in Union