The National:

TORY and Labour MSPs have been left red-faced after trying to start a row over whether or not Lorna Slater had a government-issued phone.

Unionist papers gleefully reported calls from MSPs calling for Slater to “clarify” her position after she said she did not have a Scottish Government issued device during an interview with the BBC.

And clearly, at least two people decided to follow up this admission by the Scottish Greens MSP with a Freedom of Information request.

READ MORE: Scottish Government loses court battle over Nicola Sturgeon documents

In October, Slater told the BBC: “I don’t have a government phone, my phone is for my personal use, and there has been no advice on that, as it is not for government business.”

In a bid to link the admission to the row around what WhatsApp messages had been handed over to the UK Covid Inquiry, both Labour and Tory MSPs were quick to put the boot in.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie (below) said the admission raised “more questions than answers” and Slater must “come clean” on whether she uses her personal phone for Government business.

The National: Jackie Baillie

And, Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy insisted she must “clarify her position” in the wake of allegations about deleted messages and an apparent “culture of SNP-Green government secrecy”.

Slater insisted during the interview that she did not use WhatsApp for Government business, albeit sometimes party business and for sending memes, but on a personal phone.

As the Scottish Greens joined the Government via the Bute House Agreement in 2021, when some Covid-19 restrictions were still in place, the underlying suggestion seemed to be that Slater was hiding something. 

On the Scottish Government’s publications website, two requests appeared this week listing which ministers and officials had been issued with mobile phones for work purposes.

Slater was not named on either list, but her co-leader Patrick Harvie was, alongside 25 SNP ministers and Cabinet secretaries.

READ MORE: Speaker apologises for 'leader of Scottish nationalists' error at PMQs

The Jouker understands that it usually takes around a month after an FOI request has been sent to the person who requested it before it is published publicly on the Government’s website.

It’s interesting that, from what we can see, there were no news stories published about this in the last month.

It’s almost as if there wasn’t a story there at all…