ALISTER Jack should be investigated after he seemed to admit to breaching the ministerial code when giving evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry, the SNP have said.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Laurie Magnus, an aristocrat and financier serving as the UK Government’s independent adviser on ministers’ interests, SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said Jack had admitted to a “clear breach” of the code.

Sheppard wrote: “I am writing to request an investigation into whether the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP, broke the ministerial code by using his position as a minister to lobby for a significant section of his constituency to be included in a new £150 million ‘enhanced investment zone’.”

When giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry on February 1, Jack was asked if the “salient details” of his conversations with other government ministers were on the official record after he admitted to having deleted all of his WhatsApps from the pandemic.

READ MORE: 'Those are my questions': Alister Jack's inquiry session lasts just 80 minutes

Answering, Jack said that he had been lobbying for Stranraer and Cairnryan, which are in his Dumfries and Galloway constituency, to be included in an investment zone for Northern Ireland.

He said he had only informed the Scotland Office after he had lobbied different politicians about his goal.

Jack told the Covid Inquiry: “In the last 10 days I have had conversations with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland directly about including Stranraer and Cairnryan in an investment zone for Northern Ireland, as we move towards Stormont hopefully being up and running again.

“I had a conversation with [DUP leader] Jeffrey Donaldson and I then came back to speak to my office directly and inform them that I'm trying to have Stranraer and Cairnryan included in an investment zone for Northern Ireland.”

READ MORE: SNP urge UK Government to back compensation bill for Waspi women

It is against the ministerial code for ministers to use their position in the government to seek any particular gain or special treatment for their own constituency.

Scots Tory MP Andrew Bowie was stripped of his responsibility over the UK’s energy grid over concerns linked to the same section of the code.

Sheppard, who serves as Jack’s shadow as the SNP’s Scotland spokesperson at Westminster, said: “Mr Jack’s comments during the Covid Inquiry clearly shows that he used his position as a minister to influence the enhanced investment zone for his constituency, which flies in the face of the ministerial code.

“However, this is something we’ve become accustomed to with this UK Tory government. Whether they’re handing out contracts worth millions of pounds for defunct PPE, or stuffing the House of Lords with their cronies and donors, their rank hypocrisy is clear for all to see.”

The UK Government has insisted that Jack was seeking benefit for Scotland, not specifically for his own constituency.

The Prime Minister is the ultimate arbiter of the ministerial code, but No 10 pointed The National to the Scotland Office for a response to Sheppard’s letter.

A Scotland Office spokesperson said: “Alister Jack was acting in his capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland.

“The NI / Stranraer Investment Zone would be a huge boost to jobs and the economy of southwest Scotland, strengthening Scotland’s economic ties with Northern Ireland and benefitting the entire of the UK.”