RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance has today called for an independent public investigation into the ongoing controversy surrounding the Scottish Information Commissioner.
Last week, RISE Glasgow candidate and education spokesperson James McEnaney received an email from the SIC which revealed that the FOI watchdog was delaying decisions on political grounds during the election period.
In a series of subsequent emails, the SIC confirmed that it was factoring the risk of releasing information critical ministers into its decision-making process.
On Wednesday, the SIC then admitted that it had delayed three decisions during the independence referendum 'purdah' period and is delaying a further two, in addition to Mr McEnaney's, in the run-up to the May election.
Commenting, McEnaney, said:
"Given recent developments, the time has come for a full and independent public investigation into the ongoing controversy surrounding Scotland's Information Commissioner.
"It is not appropriate or acceptable for the Commissioner to delay decisions because of their potential political ramifications. That runs contrary to the spirit and the letter of Freedom of Information legislation.
"One of the key questions raised by the SIC's rhetoric is whether this issue would have presented itself had the information in question not been critical of ministers. If it had lead to a 'positive' view of ministers, would it have been released?
"The SIC is ultimately accountable to the Scottish Parliament and it therefore falls to the Parliament to investigate the conduct of the Commissioner. A simple complaint into the SIC would not be sufficient because the SIC cannot investigate itself.
"Two things are very important. First, voters need to have all information relevant to their interest available to them at all times. This is especially important in the run up to an election.
"Second, voters must have confidence in the absolute impartiality of the Information Commissioner's office. Given the events of the last ten days, that impartiality may well be in question.
"We hope the establishment parties will support our position."