“’We’ve published a consultation document on student debt, which is out for consultation at the present moment. I am sure that’s available to read.’
“Is anything that he said in those two sentences true?
“The First Minister was very clear last week that he had published a consultation and that it was available to read. However, we made a request for the document under the freedom of information legislation and we got the following back from the Government:
‘We believe that releasing information on the policy proposals would not be in the public interest at this time.’
“What is it with the Government and this policy?
“Four weeks ago, Fiona Hyslop appeared on STV to deny that she had ever promised to write off student debt in the first place. The First Minister has now been on the BBC to fabricate an entire Government consultation. In the interview, James Watson from Glasgow, the father of a student, asked him, ‘Why do you have to lie to the people to get voted into power?’
“Can the Deputy First Minister give Mr Watson an honest answer?”
Nicol continues to receive praise for his sharp questioning at FMQs from political pundits across the board:
Eddie Barnes, Political Editor, Scotland on Sunday: “It was another surgical strike for Nicol Stephen.” (Holyrood Live 01.05.08)