Publication - FOI/EIR release

Responsibilities and roles of MSPs and Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs: FOI release

Published: 10 Nov 2021

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

Published:
10 Nov 2021
Responsibilities and roles of MSPs and Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100245973
Date received: 8 Oct 2021
Date responded: 22 Oct 2021
Information requested

“The responsibilities of MSPs and SNP MPs in relation to responding to constituents emails. Are they duty bound to respond to constituents correspondence or is this something that they can totally ignore if, example, they don't like the questions being asked? What course of action can a constituent take if several emails have been ignored by MSPs or/and SNP MPs?

Should MSPs and SNP MPs treat everyone in their constituency equally regardless of the constituents political point of view?

What action can be taken by a constituent if he/she feels their MSP or SNP MP are ignoring and refusing to respond to their correspondence as a result of the constituents political preferences?

Can a freedom of information request be submitted to an individual MSP or SNP MP? If so what is the mechanism for doing this and does any freedom of information request to an MSP or SNP MP have the same standing as an FOI submitted to the Scot Gov or UK Gov?

What role/relationship does the current First Minister of Scotland have with SNP MPs in Westminster? Is she in overall charge of SNP in Holyrood and Westminster?

Does the current First Minister of Scotland have any authority whatsoever in relation to SNP MPs in Westminster? Are SNP MPs in Westminster totally autonomous to the current Scot Gov, if so, who do they report to within SNP?

Being as we have MSPs in Holyrood and SNP MPs in Westminster does this mean our Westminster SNP MPs have limited specific responsibility in dealing with questions raised by their constituents? For example is it acceptable for an SNP MP in Westminster to direct constituents asking questions to the secretary in Scot Gov and take no ownership of the constituents concerns... If so, can you please tell me the role of our SNP MPs in Westminster? Again, if so, this would mean our SNP MPs in Westminster have very little to be responsible and accountable for! Their English counterparts must be working so much harder.”

Response

Any queries or concerns regarding the communications and engagement of elected representatives, including emails, with the public and their constituents, fall within the responsibility of the Parliament to which the representative concerned is a member.

Elected representatives are individuals as opposed to public authorities and therefore are not subject to Freedom of Information (FoI) requirements. Only if a public authority holds information relevant to an elected member would this be subject to FoI requests. In this instance however the Scottish Government does not hold the information you seek.

The First Minister of Scotland is the Head of the Scottish Government and leader of the Scottish National Party. Ian Blackford MP is the Leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons. The Scottish Government does not hold any information on the internal operation of any political parties, which is a matter for the political party concerned.

Under the terms of the Scotland Act the Scottish Parliament can pass laws on matters devolved to Scotland. Any matter not devolved is reserved and remains within the competence of the UK Parliament. Issues raised by constituents would, by default, be handled by members accordingly, the constituent being advised to approach either their MP or MSP as appropriate.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG