FURIOUS Douglas Ross has criticised the country's top civil servant after she refused to remove “shameless SNP propaganda” from Scottish Government social media accounts.

Ross called on Leslie Evans to censure the SNP over a government social media video criticising Boris Johnson's Brexit deal and “most concerningly” stating the case for an independent Scotland within the EU.

In a letter sent on Hogmanay, Scottish Tory leader Ross urged Evans to investigate and apologise, saying the material was in breach of the ministerial code.

But Evans has now rejected that claim outright, saying there is “nothing to support” his allegation.

Now raging Ross has hit out at Evans, stating: “I am disappointed with this unsatisfactory response from the permanent secretary.

“This video was brazen SNP propaganda paid for by taxpayers and pushed on the public through official Scottish Government channels.

READ MORE: Scottish food and drinks exporters to the EU face losing millions over Brexit

“It makes a mockery of political neutrality and no-one, no matter their political views, can feel comfortable with a civil service peddling party political propaganda.

“Between this ridiculous video and John Swinney’s latest comments on an independence referendum being ‘essential’, the SNP have clearly lost all sense of priority at this crucial stage in the pandemic.”

In his official complaint to Evans, the head of the Scottish civil service, Ross talked up Johnson's deal and said he was “extremely disappointed to see the Scottish Government official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts recently promote a post which outlined a very negative case on the UK-EU trade deal and, most concerningly, endorsed Scotland separating from the rest of the United Kingdom and rejoining the European Union”.

In the clip, the narrator states: “Talks between the EU and UK Government to agree a future trading relationship have ended in a bad deal for Scotland.

“Brexit will be damaging in many ways for both businesses and communities in Scotland such as: a rise in costs and red tape for businesses, major effects on food and drink imports and exports in several sectors, greater risk to national security, less migration of EU citizens who make a valuable contribution to Scotland.

“Scotland did not vote to leave the EU and we cannot prevent every negative outcome, but we will work hard to mitigate the worst effects of Brexit. We believe that Scotland has the right to choose a better future as an independent country and member of the European Union.”

Ross claimed the SNP administration had used government resources for party political purposes.

The National:

He wrote: “The material does not include the positive response to the trade deal from business leaders and industry groups across Scotland to balance opinion and represent the varied views across Scotland. Instead, it very clearly seeks to exert the opinion of the Scottish National Party through government channels, using government resources.

“As Permanent Secretary, I would urge you to publish an immediate apology from the Scottish Government and request the removal of the posts. Furthermore, Scottish taxpayers deserve an explanation around the authorisation of the social media content as well as the overall costs incurred.

“In order to reinstate trust in the civil service in Scotland, I would request you formally launch an investigation into this matter. The public rightly expect the highest standards from civil servants and strict levels of impartiality yet it is clear the lines between the Scottish Government and Scottish National Party have been blurred to the point that action must be taken.”

But, in her official reply to Ross, Evans stated: “These communications were issued on behalf of Scottish Government ministers – they do not purport to be a statement on behalf of the civil service.

“Each of the points made in the video, and in the accompanying press release and social media postings, represent Scottish Government ministers’ consistent policy position both regarding the impact on Scotland of the UK’s departure from the EU and the question of independence.

“Indeed, the narrative directly quotes last year’s Programme for Government and other Scottish Government publications.

The National:

“As such the material does not include any party political commentary."

She went on: “As you know, as part of the UK civil service we support the duly elected government of the day, including taking forward its policies and programmes and the communication of these policies to the people of Scotland.

“Having given careful consideration to the points you have raised I am content that the civil service has acted entirely in keeping with this role and the obligations of the Civil Service Code.

“I am clear that the purpose of the communication was governmental and not party political.

“And I can see nothing to support your suggestion that official resources have been used for party political purposes.”