The National:

A LABOUR peer seems to have been in communication with the Tory government so much that it would take the Scotland Office too long (and cost too much) to compile all the correspondence.

At least that's what the response to a recent FOI request sent to the Scotland Office would appear to suggest. 

An FOI request was sent to the department asking for all correspondence between “Scotland Office Secretary of States, ministers, special advisers, and civil servant/officials from, to and mentioning Lord George Foulkes” from January 2021 to now.

But the Scotland Office rejected the request saying it would exceed a cost limit set for responses and would take four days or more to compile.

Has Lord Foulkes been writing SO much to the Tories that they don't actually have the hours in the day to sift through all of it?!

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The response said: “Due to the broad nature of your request we have determined that your request exceeds the £600 limit and as such we are not obliged to comply with the request.”

The department explained this cost limit applies to all central government departments  and is based on work being carried out by one member of staff at a rate of £25 per hour, which equates to three and a half days work per request.

Chris McEleny, general secretary of the Alba Party, said the notion it would take too long to compile the information is a "nonsense" when the department "doesn't do anything".

He also suggested the Scottish people have a right to know what Foulkes has been saying given some of the comments he has come out with this year. In July Foulkes said the UK “is not a union of equals” and was never meant to be, while in August he said he would “intensify” his campaign to stop Holyrood's “illegal spending”.

McEleny said: “The UK Government are wrong to apply an exemption to attempt to cover up this correspondence.

“The people of Scotland have a right to know what attempts a member of the House of Lords has been making to assault the Scottish Parliament.

“The notion that it would take too long to compile the information is a nonsense because this is a department that doesn’t do anything. The Scotland Office must immediately publish all of this material, if they refuse to do so then people will draw their own conclusions as to why not.”

When approached by The National about how much he was in touch with the UK Government, Foulkes said he wrote regularly because he was a “busy parliamentarian” and insisted the reason it may have taken too long to compile was because it included correspondence that mentioned him. 

He clearly thinks he's quite the talking point....

We have approached the Scotland Office for further comment...