Yousaf refuses proper investigation into his "statistical gymnastics"

20 Nov 2023
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today accused the SNP government of “secrecy and statistical gymnastics,” after the First Minister refused to allow a ministerial code investigation to take place into his use of statistics relating to Scotland’s renewable potential.  

On 22nd June 2023, Humza Yousaf falsely claimed that Scotland has the majority of the UK’s renewables and natural resources. On 29th August, Mr Yousaf informed Parliament that he had intended to say ‘per capita’, but this calculation has faced criticism for being misleading when Scotland in fact has around a quarter of the UK’s renewables capacity.  

Mr Cole-Hamilton wrote to the First Minister to ask if he would refer himself to the independent advisor on the ministerial code for an investigation, but Mr Yousaf has refused to do so and insisted that the matter is closed.

In his reply to Mr Cole-Hamilton, the First Minister did acknowledge that the Scottish Government wrongly withheld information.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:  

“It’s extremely disappointing that Humza Yousaf has blocked a proper investigation into this matter.

"His original claim to Parliament was simply false. His revision - calculating Scotland's energy potential on a ‘per capita’ basis - is an exercise in secrecy and statistical gymnastics. It’s designed to confuse and deflect. 

"We live in a country with enormous renewables potential, but the SNP do that an disservice by dishing out one dodgy statistic after another.

“To make matters worse, the Scottish Government treated questions with a real lack of transparency, breaching freedom of information laws by refusing to release key details about how this dodgy statistic was dreamt up.

“People deserve ministers who care about accountability and transparency, but that doesn’t seem to be on offer from the SNP.”  


Notes to editors:

You can find Mr Cole-Hamilton’s original letter here and Mr Yousaf's response here