ALISTER Jack has been left red-faced after he was caught breaking strict ministerial guidelines to lavish praise on Jackson Carlaw. 

In an article posted on the Scotland Office’s website, the Tory minister insisted that Scotland must leave the coronavirus lockdown in “lockstep” with the rest of the UK.

Jack criticised the SNP administration and lavished praise on the Scottish Tory leader, writing:  "Even now – after a U-turn forced by an outcry among businesspeople and pressure led by Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw – levels of support for the hard-hit retail, hospitality and leisure sector falls well short of what’s on offer in England."

The column - which originally appeared in the Daily Mail - was endorsed by several Tory colleagues, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, who praised “Alister ‘Union’ Jack”.

But the readership of the Daily Mail was clearly not enough for the Tory frontbencher, with the article being copied and pasted on to the website, presumably by one of his civil servants. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon blasts back at Alister Jack over 'lockstep' claim

The Civil Service code says clearly that they must not "act in a way that is determined by party political considerations, or use official resources for party political purposes".

While the UK ministerial code says that "Ministers must not use government resources for Party political purposes" and "Ministers must uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service and not ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code".

The UK government's own communications guidance - which is referred to in the ministerial code, says that government communications should “not be – and not liable to being misrepresented as – party political”

The article was edited after The National approached the Scotland Office for a comment. 

A UK Government spokesperson said: “An unredacted version of the Secretary of State’s Scottish Daily Mail article was posted in error on This has now been amended.”

An SNP spokesperson said:"This is an embarrassing mistake by Alister Jack.

"Using government resources for party political purposes is strictly against the ministerial code, and is totally inappropriate in the context of fighting a global pandemic."