THE SCOTTISH Greens have accused Jackson Carlaw of telling an “outright lie” and talking “absolute pish” in a row over the re-opening of Holyrood.

Currently, the Scottish Parliament is meeting in a hybrid format, with the number of MSPs in the chamber tightly managed, and others contributing through video call. Most committees have been meeting remotely. 

However, in a press release on Sunday, the Tory leader said it was “now time to get things back up and running.”

“As Scotland moves out of lockdown, as well as holding the SNP to account on Covid-19 we have to get back to other issues of importance too,” he said.

“Let’s not forget that prior to coronavirus the SNP was being exposed in Holyrood for its shambolic approach to the domestic agenda.

“Those failings have not gone away, which is why we need the Scottish Parliament back and operating better than ever.”

The Tory chief said it was “just not possible to fully hold the SNP Government to account when Holyrood is only meeting once a week.”

He added: “It’s perfectly possible for other key processes to return, like opposition debates and committee sessions, while observing social distancing and making full use of technology.

“We’re not saying Holyrood needs to be jam-packed full of MSPs again – there is still a role to play for digital contributions for those unable to come back.”

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw’s latest attack on the Scottish Government defies belief

However, SNP and Green politicians took to Twitter, accusing the Tory leader of not being entirely factual. 

SNP constitutional affairs minister, Michael Russell said Carlaw was “grandstanding” 

He added: “I will appear before the new #Covid Committee on Wednesday but then make a statement to the whole chamber on #Brexit , followed by questions.  @ScotGovFM & other ministers questioned every week & legislative programme has restarted.”

Green co-leader Patrick Harvie tweeted: “This is profoundly irresponsible. Lockdown has been eased slightly, not ended, and people are still being urged to work from home when possible @ScotParl has used online meetings to do that, and @Jackson_Carlaw's claim that it's only meeting one day a week is an outright lie.

“I've typically been in Holyrood around a day a fortnight recently, when I judged that the trip was really necessary. But I've been working every day, not just on constituents's issues but asking questions, amending legislation, taking part in committees.

“There was a brief period when formal parliamentary business was down to one day a week, before online systems were developed. But everyone can see that ended in early April. The Tories know this too of course, they're just utterly dishonest.”

Responding to Harvie on the social media site, Carlaw tweeted: “Online & established hybrid arrangements are fine. But parliament does not just exist to do the SNP’s bidding. We need full opposition led debates & scrutiny - for this we need a restoration of a full parliamentary timetable.”

That provoked a heated reply from Harvie’s colleague Ross Greer. 

The Green tweeted: “Absolute pish. Parliament wasn't doing the SNP's bidding when we passed multiple amendments to the emergency bill over their objections. You've lied for the sake of a press release and you dont care that the lie  is pressuring people to risk their health & that of their families.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said it was “simply not accurate” to say parliamentary business had stopped.

She added: “In the past weeks, the Parliament has sat on its usual three days per week, with Ministerial statements, portfolio questions and debates taking place.

“All of which provide the opportunity for opposition parties to question the Government.

“In addition, committees have continued to meet to scrutinise the Government’s work in relation to Covid-19 and other matters and there has of course been extended FMQ sessions on a weekly basis.

“If the Scottish Conservatives, or indeed any party, has concerns about the parliamentary business schedule, there are a number of decision making forums in which they can raise these, not least the parliamentary bureau on which every party, including the Conservatives, is represented.”