Alleged ministerial code breach by Jenny Gilruth: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

1. All correspondence received and sent by the Scottish government, Humza Yousaf and Jenny Gilruth over her allegedly breaching the ministerial code over delaying rail works in her constituency,

2. Has an investigation been started by the First Minister into this incident after he promised to do so on 18 May?

3. If so, what stage is this probe at? If finished, what was the outcome? If not, why has a probe not been launched?


1. The information you requested is contained in the two attachments. There have been a number of exemptions applied to the information. Personal information has been redacted under section 38 of FOISA. This is because its disclosure would contravene the principles of data protection. The personal information is names of officials below the level of the Senior Civil Service as well as individual contact telephone numbers. This is an absolute exemption so we do not need to apply the public interest test.

Information has been withheld under section 36(i) of FOISA where a claim to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings. This is exempt information.

Information has also been withheld under section 30 (b)(i) of FOISA where its release would inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. In sensitive and potentially controversial areas such as this, the ability of officials to offer candid advice to Ministers is important so that the issue can be considered thoroughly and a decision made. This exemption is subject to the public interest test and we find that on this occasion the necessity of being able to offer such advice in confidence outweighs the interests to the public in releasing it.

We have also withheld information under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA where information may be withheld if its release would inhibit substantially the ability to offer free and frank views for the purposes of deliberation. These exemptions recognise the need for Ministers and officials to have a private space within which to seek advice and discuss options that may be in draft before reaching a settled public view. Disclosing the content of such advice and discussions would substantially inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and/or exchange of views in the future, particularly while discussions are ongoing and decisions have not been taken, and/or if those discussions relate to sensitive or controversial issues. This exemption is subject to the public interest test and on balance we find that the ability of Ministers and officials to exchange views before reaching a settled position to be made public outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.

Finally, some information has been withheld under section 25(1) of FOISA. This is because it is reasonably accessible elsewhere. It was the subject of a previous FOI. Previous FOIs are published on the Scottish Government website at

2. An investigation into the allegation made by Douglas Ross MSP that Ms Gilruth breached the Scottish Ministerial Code when she was Minister for Transport was completed by the First Minister on 12 June 2023.

3. As noted above, this investigation has been completed. The First Minister concluded that he was confident that Ms Gilruth did not breach of the Ministerial Code. The First Minister wrote to Douglas Ross MSP to confirm the outcome of the investigation on 12 June 2023.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI -202300361845 - information released - Annex A
FOI -202300361845 - information released - Annex B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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