The National:

THERE have been rumblings in Holyrood and in council buildings across the land after the Tories started up their wee scare against Nicola Sturgeon for destroying her handwritten notes.

Tory MSP Donald Cameron said: “This is bizarre and potentially unlawful. It reeks of secrecy and paranoia.”

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Some of the members of the Conservative group of MSPs have realised that this could all backfire on them, for while MSPs do not have to keep written notes, those who have a formal role at Holyrood such as the four committee chairs, are subject to the same rules as Scottish Government ministers.

In other words what is sauce for Sturgeon is sauce for the Tories and anybody else with a formal role in government - and apparently it may also apply to all those council group leaders across the land if their agreed rules don’t specifically say so.

So all those councils being propped up by Labour and Tory Better Together may say they have no e-mails formalising such pacts - we know, we asked them - but have they ever written anything down on paper, and if so have they destroyed those notes?

In the Scottish Government those rules on minutes etc. are the ones introduced by former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell and continued by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Now here’s the funny thing - all those newspapers and broadcasters who took on the original report inspired by the Scottish Conservatives didn’t bother to check with the man who is responsible for regulating all these rules, the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

His office said: “The Keeper of the Records of Scotland received a letter on Monday about record keeping at the Scottish Government. The Keeper will now consider his response.”

Now here’s the rub: the official policy of the Keeper is that under the legislation, relevant authorities are required to periodically submit records management plans to the Keeper, which are subject to agreement and review.

That includes the Scottish Government and Parliament and local authorities.

In relevant codes of practice it states: “How long information is retained will be set out in the Records Management Plan of that particular authority” – as Nicola Sturgeon said, it had all been agreed before.

In other words the Tories and their pals in the press went to town on a no story. Surprise.