CLAIMS civil servants working for the Scottish Government “lobbied” Holyrood witnesses are to be probed by the Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer.

Ken Macintosh said he would investigate whether any rules had been broken amid fears key figures were “coerced” into following the SNP line.

Emails revealed Holyrood staff refused requests from civil servants to hand over the identities of witnesses before they gave evidence to a committee about the so-called named person policy.

The SNP’s controversial plans would see a state guardian – such as a teacher or health visitor – appointed for every child in Scotland.

Education Secretary John Swinney has been accused of lobbying critics of the scheme, while the SNP convener of the education committee came under fire for allegedly using “bully-boy tactics”.

Raising the claims in Holyrood, Scottish Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said ensuring the “independence and impartiality of parliament” was paramount.

He said: “You’ll have no doubt seen the news reports relating to the actions of civil servants working for the Scottish Government regarding evidence taking by the education and skills committee on the named person policy.

“As a member of that committee, I was deeply disappointed to read that civil servants working on behalf of Mr Swinney have allegedly made inappropriate requests to clerks.

“This included asking clerks to hand over the identity of future committee witnesses, and asking to have Government officials sit in on focus groups being conducted by the committee.”

His remarks sparked an angry intervention from education committee convener James Dornan, who was previously accused of quashing concerns raised by MSPs.

He said: “This is just grandstanding by opposition who would rather play politics than deal with the education system.”

Mr Macintosh said he wanted more time to investigate the matter fully.

He said: “It is an issue I am aware of through reading reports in the paper and through talking to clerks on the education committee, but I would like time to deliberate further on the issue you raise.”

The controversial Children and Young People (Information Sharing) Bill is currently caught up in lengthy delays after MSPs demanded more details over how it will operate.