THE SNP HAS moved to dismiss claims that staff in their Moray Parliamentary Office had broken any confidentiality rules over reports that Labour leader Kezia Dugdale had once applied to the SNP to gain work experience.
Accusations of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign in the Scottish Parliament Elections emerged on Wednesday when a national newspaper reported that Ms Dugdale had in 2003 written to the SNP seeking a work experience placement.
At the time the now Scottish Labour leader was only just completing her education – which had started in Moray where her father was an lecturer and well known SNP member.
Opposition parties moved quickly to try and take advantage of the supposed leak from the SNP, with the Scottish Liberal Democrats going as far as to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) citing the SNP for a breach of the Data Protection Act.
Later online media reports identified Richard Lochhead’s office as being the recipients of Ms Dugdale’s original letter – although the Labour Leader said she had “no recollection” of ever having made any such application.
Reacting to claims that they had deliberately leaked an application from Ms Dugdale, an SNP spokesman said: “Why the Lib Dems are being so po-faced about this light hearted story is anyone’s guess.
“The fact Miss Dugdale asked for a position in the SNP has been very common knowledge in Holyrood circles for a long time – no documents of any kind have been given to any outside organisation.”
Last night Moray Labour candidate in the election, Sean Morton, said that while appearing funny the issue was no laughing matter.
He said: “This might seem like a funny news story – but the troubling thing for people in Moray is that our MSP’s office appears to have let one of his constituent’s information fall into the wrong hands.
“Kezia applied for work experience with her local Moray MSP 13 years ago when she was a student. Who else’s applications have they treated carelessly? Are constituents records safe and secure? People in Moray deserve to know their personal correspondence with their MSP won’t be used for petty political gain.
“Richard Lochhead’s office need to reassure Moray residents on data protection. We need to know that local people’s details are being kept confidential.”