THE general election in Scotland has become dominated by a bizarre row over what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon allegedly said to a French diplomat.
According to a leaked memo obtained by the Daily Telegraph, Sturgeon told France’s UK Ambassador Sylvie Bermann that “she'd rather see David Cameron remain as PM”.
If true, this would have been hugely embarrassing: the First Minister has said publicly she wants Cameron out of Downing Street and Ed Miliband in.
The story unraveled after Pierre-Alain Coffinier, France's consul general in Edinburgh, as well as Bermann's spokesperson, both denied the Cameron claim.
The original newspaper report wasn’t helped by the fact that the memo was written by an official in the Scotland Office who wasn’t even at the Sturgeon meeting.
However, the memo also noted the First Minister saying she "didn't see Ed Miliband as PM material".
So, are the French diplomats also denying this part of this document?
When the Sunday Herald spoke to Coffinier yesterday, he repeated his denial about the Cameron claim, but was far more uncomfortable being quizzed on the Miliband section.
Here is the exchange with Monsieur Coffinier:
Shown the section of the leaked memo regarding Sturgeon’s views on David Cameron and Ed Miliband, he said: “Well, yes, that is not accurate.”Asked if any of it was accurate, he said: “I’m not going to disclose that. My comment is very clear. There has been no preference expressed regarding the outcome of the elections.”Pressed on whether Sturgeon said Ed Miliband was not Prime Ministerial material, he said: “No, I’m not going to answer. No comment… I don’t want to answer that. I don’t want to answer that.”