Retailer backs down

‘Petty’ SNP put pressure on M&S over ‘UK’ whisky

Fergus Ewing

Fergus Ewing: briefed on talks with retailer (photo by Terry Murden)


SNP government officials “pressured” Marks and Spencer over food and drink labelling, it has emerged. 

The retailer has agreed to re-list Scotch whisky and Scottish gin after the party objected to it being categorised in the “United Kingdom” section of its website.  

Documents obtained by the Scottish Conservatives under Freedom of Information have revealed rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing was briefed on the conversation with M&S.

He was told by officials: “Scottish Government officials spoke to M&S to seek clarity on the situation with regard to the status of these products on their website. M&S urgently investigated this and reverted back confirming that this was indeed an error which they immediately rectified and sent out a tweet apologising for their error.”

After M&S agreed to back down, the Scottish Government official then asked: “Do you guys plan to send any tweets (or something) to clarify the situation? Just wondering as I’m sure if you did Mr Ewing would respond positively.”

The FoI response also reveals First Minister Nicola Sturgeon received similar briefings over Tesco’s decision to sell Scottish strawberries under a Union Flag logo in 2016.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: “There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t know whisky is Scottish.

“But for the SNP to actively pressure a leading retailer in this way is petty and, frankly, a waste of public resources.

“It shows just how parochial the SNP government is, that it would sooner berate businesses for daring to refer to the UK, than actually help them create jobs and grow the economy.

“Instead of obsessing about Saltires and pandering to the extreme elements of the Yes movement, the SNP government should be getting on with representing the whole country.”



7 Comments to ‘Petty’ SNP put pressure on M&S over ‘UK’ whisky

  1. Retailers were asked by David Mundell to put the Union Jack on produce from Scotland.’Scotland the brand’ has been diluted by this campaign.

    To hit back, many customers are boycotting such produce.

    If it has the Jack……put it back.

  2. Let’s be honest there is a reason for putting the Union Jack on Scottish produce you would have to be very naive to know otherwise. In fact, anything but Scottish. Supposing you put the saltire on Cornwall pastries or cider, or Yorkshire puddings. We all know what you are up to.

  3. Murdo once again displays his limitless ignorance: whisky is made in America, Ireland, France, Wales and Japan. It is imperative that country of origin is specified.

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