NICOLA Sturgeon has defended her use of handwritten notes after the Tories reported her to the National Records of Scotland.

The First Minister accused the opposition of “trying to cast aspersions where there is no justification for doing so”.

A report in yesterday’s Times revealed officials in the Scottish Government do not keep documents which have been annotated by the SNP leader, unlike in Downing Street where officials scan the Prime Minister’s notes and save them.

READ MORE: Sturgeon defends decision to destroy handwritten notes

The Tories claim this potentially breaches the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011. MSP Donald Cameron suggested the Scottish Government may have broken Section 1 of the Act by circumventing their own Records Management Plan, rendering it redundant, and by failing to keep records that should be retained for at least five years. He said the Government was “putting every imaginable hurdle in the way to limit transparency and keep her decisions secret”. He added: “This is an unacceptable and unprecedented attempt to avoid scrutiny and it simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer.”

The National: Tory MSP Donald Cameron called the system an ‘attempt to avoid scrutiny’Tory MSP Donald Cameron called the system an ‘attempt to avoid scrutiny’

During a campaign visit to Aberdeen South, Sturgeon said when she writes notes, her “private office transcribes that note into an email that is then retained within the government in electronic form and fully open to FoI legislation”.

“There is absolutely nothing different to what’s happened previously or untoward in any way, and I think opposition parties should stop trying to suggest otherwise.”

She said the policy had been in place since Jack McConnell was first minister, adding: “I’ve not changed it in any way, I haven’t introduced any new policies, my predecessors as first minister used exactly the same system, so I think other parties are trying to cast aspersions where there is no justification for doing so.

“If I write a handwritten note, my private office transcribes that note into an email. Otherwise, how would the policy official know what instruction I was giving on a government submission?

“That’s how the system works, it’s how I have dealt with government papers ever since I was in government in 2007 and, as we know, that policy has been in place since 2004-05, so my immediate predecessors as first ministers used the same system and any insinuation – and I think it is an insinuation – that somehow I have changed the rules or created a system to try to evade scrutiny has absolutely no substance whatsoever.”