The National:

THE Scottish Conservatives’ chief whip sparked laughter in the Holyrood chamber this afternoon after citing an “extensive piece of published research” - from his own office.

Stephen Kerr had spoken up at First Minister’s Questions to ask Nicola Sturgeon about this “research” - which was published on his website on October 18.

Ordinarily such “published research” would be found in a peer-reviewed journal … the term Kerr was likely looking for is “grey literature”.

Either way, his 14-page report (which ostensibly meets its “END” on page 6) deals with local authorities and Scotland’s climate change goals.

It says that of the 32 local authorities in Scotland, 15 returned plans which could be analysed. Of these 15, it says 11 were chosen to be “reviewed in detail”. It then lists the 12 that were.

Confused? We are.

The Tories ordinarily demand that the SNP in Edinburgh back off and let local authorities have more autonomy. Not anymore.

Now Kerr is demanding “radical intervention” to ensure those local authorities understand and hit central government targets on emissions.

Raising this in the chamber at FMQs, he said: “The First Minister’s climate change strategy stated that local authorities were on the frontline of Scotland’s response to the climate emergency, but an extensive piece of published research by my own office reveals …”

Here an audible laugh could be heard from the opposite side of the chamber, something which seemed to take Kerr aback.

After a dramatic pause he says: “Well, you may laugh, you may laugh at this research, but I think you should take it seriously.”

Of course he does.

Responding, the First Minister said she didn’t think the points outlined by Kerr’s research are “true”.

She went on to say she would be “fascinated to read the research prepared by Stephen Kerr’s office” - which only sparked further laughter among the backbenches.

But Sturgeon said she was being serious, and committed to reading the entire thing in full.

Having done so First Minister, the Jouker would suggest you don’t bother.