Alex Salmond inquiry: SNP ‘clearly rattled’ over decision to publish Sturgeon evidence, Tories say

Adam Forrest
·2-min read
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon (PA)
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon (PA)

The SNP has attacked the “bewildering” decision to allow the publication of Alex Salmond’s claims about first minister Nicola Sturgeon ahead of his expected appearance at a Holyrood inquiry next week.

The party claimed the inquiry’s decision to publish Mr Salmond’s dossier could “jeopardise” the anonymity of women who were involved in the legal case against the former first minister.

However, the committee of MSPs investigating the Scottish government’s botched handling of claims against Mr Salmond has made clear anonymity would still be protected.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader at Holyrood, said the SNP’s “bizarre” response from the SNP showed party bosses were “clearly rattled” at the prospect of Mr Salmond’s evidence coming to light.

“Their clear overreaction only confirms in people’s minds that they must have something to hide,” said Ms Davidson. “Nobody is suggesting for a second that information would ever be published jeopardising a complainant’s anonymity.”

On Thursday the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) concluded that “on balance” it would be possible for Mr Salmond’s dossier – in which he alleges his predecessor broke the ministerial code – to be published.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said the document would be processed “ahead of publication early next week”, and Mr Salmond would be invited to appear at the committee on Wednesday.

The SNP responding through a statement from MSP George Adam, the party’s chief whip at Holyrood.

“People across Scotland will be utterly bewildered that the corporate body of the national parliament has ignored clear legal advice and decided to publish information which it knows could jeopardise the court-ordered anonymity of complainants in a sexual offences case,” claimed Mr Adam.

He added: “We have to ask the question of the corporate body members – if it had been their wife, their mother, their daughter or their sister at the centre of this, would they have made the same decision?”

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon campaigning together in 2015PA
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon campaigning together in 2015PA

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Conservatives all welcomed the move. “This is the right decision,” said Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, a member of the committee. “We must hear Alex Salmond’s side of the story to uncover what really happened.”

The decision clears the way for Mr Salmond to give further details about his meetings with Ms Sturgeon in 2018. He has already submitted evidence to a separate Holyrood inquiry considering whether Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code.

The former SNP leader claims Ms Sturgeon misled parliament about the nature of the meeting at her Sturgeon at her home on 2 April 2018.

Mr Salmond has also claimed his former chief of staff Geoff Aberdein had discussed the existence of the complaints about the former first minister in a meeting with Ms Sturgeon on 29 March.

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