Visit by Neil Gray to M/S Ambition ship (October 2022): FOI release

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

Information requested

All items of information held in relation to the briefing prepared for minister Neil Gray for his visit to the M/S Ambition ship on 19 October 2022, and all notes and records of this visit. The meeting is listed in the Scottish Government's ministerial engagements travel-and-gifts-october-2022/

This should include all material prepared for Mr Gray in preparation for the visit, including papers, emails and media clippings, and all notes and records made during and about the visit, including any media recordings and transcripts.

In order to fulfil this request as cheaply and efficiently as possible, it is suggested that copies of original files are released in PDF format, or their original media format.


The information held by the Scottish Government that falls within the scope of your request has been attached for your reference. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under FOISA apply.

The details of why these exemptions apply are explained below. In this instance, an exemption under Section 38(1)(b) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Furthermore, Section 30 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) exempts information from disclosure where disclosure would, or would be likely to (ii) inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice. Disclosing the content of free and frank briefing material will substantially inhibit such briefing in the future, particularly because discussions on the issue relate to an ongoing matter. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which officials and stakeholders can provide full and frank advice to as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s policy, until the Government as a whole can adopt a policy decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private thinking space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, based on the best available advice, so that good policy decisions can be taken. Disclosure would undermine the quality of the policy decision making process, which would not be in the public interest. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.

About FOI

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

Document 1 - 202300339766
Document 2-4 - 202300339766


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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