SNP minister grilled by host over Salmond inquiry 'shambles'
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters.Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights.You can unsubscribe at any time.
On Wednesday night the SNP leader apologised to the women who submitted sexual harassment complaints about the former scottish first minister. Speaking at the Holyrood Committee, the Scottish First Minister admitted there had been “a very serious mistake” in the Scottish Government’s investigation.
Ms Sturgeon added the “two women were failed and taxpayers’ money was lost, I deeply regret that”.
Speaking under oath during almost seven hours of questioning, Ms Sturgeon also argued there was “not a shred of evidence” to support Mr Salmond’s claims and she had “no motive, intention, (or) desire” to conspire against him.
The Scottish First Minister said the details of complaints against Mr Salmond were “shocking” and his behaviour “was not always appropriate”.
Mr Salmond claims he was the victim of a “malicious and concerted” attempt by several people to see him removed from public life.
The former Scottish first minister also accused Ms Sturgeon of several breaches of the Scottish Government ministerial code and lying to parliament over meetings between the pair in 2018 over the harassment claims.
Ms Sturgeon denied these allegations.
Ms Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney are now facing votes of no confidence today after the Scottish Conservatives tabled two motions over the Alex Salmond affair.
The Scottish Conservatives have demanded Mr Swinney publish the legal advice in full.
SNP ministers initially backtracked and agreed to provide some of the legal advice which revealed Mr Salmond’s challenge against the Scottish Government had high chances of success on Monday.
Lawyers acting for the Scottish Government admitted their advice would cause “dismay” for the Scottish Government.
Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, who was questioned by the Committee on Monday, said in Correspondence: “Counsel are of the view that the ‘least worst’ option would be to concede the Petition.
“They understand how unpalatable that advice will be, and they do not tender it lightly.”
Anas Sarwar elected new leader of Scottish Labour [LATEST]
BBC accused of giving Sturgeon ‘free rein’ to attack political rivals [INSIGHT]
Ross brands SNP ‘corrupt’ as Salmond inquiry tears Nats apart [REVEAL]
Following the motions, Deputy First Minister John Swinney last night sent a letter to the Committee agreeing to release more legal advice.
Express.co.uk understands this legal advice is expected to be published later today.
The Scottish Conservatives said Nicola Sturgeon “must go” after her appearance before the Holyrood inquiry on Wednesday.
Party leader Douglas Ross said it is clear that Ms Sturgeon repeatedly misled the Scottish Parliament and that the “litany of lies and abject failures is too much for any first minister to survive”.
Jackson Carlaw MSP, former Scottish Conservative leader, added: “Nicola Sturgeon has been telling us for two years that she was looking forward to today as it was her opportunity to set the record straight.
“She changed her story from what she told me, told Parliament and told the media.
“Times up First Minister, time to resign.”
Henry McLeish, Scotland’s second Labour First Minister branded the arguments between the two as a “bloody civil war.”
He said Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond may struggle to walk away with their “reputation intact in the eyes of the public.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour deputy leader and Committee member Jackie Baillie said that Ms Sturgeon’s appearance before the committee left serious questions unanswered.
She said: “The First Minister’s appearance today was welcome, but quite frankly we are not much further forward in understanding her role in this catastrophic failure of the Scottish Government.”
Ms Baillie added: “Time and time again, Nicola Sturgeon assumed responsibility for the litany of failures of her government but still no-one has resigned for these failures.
“Ultimately, the First Minister was unable to answer accusations made against her, unable to disprove claims made by credible witnesses, and unable to properly defend the Government’s costly decision to persist with the judicial review.
“Serious questions remain over the First Minister’s conduct.”
Nicola Sturgeon’s spokesman last night said Ms Sturgeon had “dismantled all of the claims which have been made against her.”
He added: “She now looks forward to receiving the conclusions of the committee’s report, and the report of James Hamilton, the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code.
“The people of Scotland want a Government focused on the issues they are facing on a daily basis – and the First Minister is now determined to get on with the job of leading the country through the pandemic and the many other issues facing the nation.”
The spokesman added Mr Swinney had “written a letter” to the Committee and further legal advice received by Government ministers would be “published in due course”.
The Government’s investigation of the unproven allegations against Mr Salmond was found to be “tainted by apparent bias”.
Mr Salmond was awarded £512,250 to pay for most of his legal costs after he successfully challenged the lawfulness of the government investigation.
The former SNP leader was also separately acquitted of all 13 charges of sexual assault against him relating to nine complainants following a trial last year.
Source: Read Full Article