Ex-civil servant corroborates Salmond claim that Sturgeon staff leaked name

Tom Eden, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Alex Salmond’s claim that Nicola Sturgeon’s staff leaked the name of one of the women who complained about the former first minister’s behaviour has been corroborated by an ex-civil servant.

Lorraine Kay told a Holyrood inquiry that a complainer’s identity had been shared with Geoff Aberdein, Mr Salmond’s chief of staff.

Ms Kay, who worked in the then-first minister’s private office for five years, is the third person to back up Mr Salmond’s statement that a government official revealed the name of one of the women who had come forward with an allegation.

Written evidence from Duncan Hamilton, a former SNP MSP and lawyer for Mr Salmond, and the SNP’s former communications director, Kevin Pringle, both confirmed Mr Aberdein told them a complainer’s name was shared with him.

In a letter to the committee examining the government’s unlawful investigation of Mr Salmond, but redacted by the Scottish Parliament, Ms Kay wrote: “I can confirm that Geoff confided in me, back in early March 2018, at the time when [redacted] requested a meeting with him.

“I met with Geoff after his meeting with [redacted], and was shocked to hear that the Scottish Government had received two complaints about Mr Salmond.

“Geoff also shared with me that [redacted] had named one of the complainants – I recall this clearly as I knew the individual concerned.

“I believe I was the first person Geoff spoke to about this issue.”

The current First Minister, who was not at the meeting where the name was allegedly shared, has argued that the name was not leaked.

When she was first challenged about the claims at FMQs, Ms Sturgeon said: “To the very best of my knowledge, I do not think that happened.”

Speaking under oath during her evidence session before the committee, Ms Sturgeon said: “The account that I have been given has given me assurance that what is alleged to have happened at that meeting did not happen in the way that has been described.”

She suggested that Mr Salmond may have already known the name of one of the complainers “because he had apologised to the person concerned” and had possibly discovered the identity of the other “through his own investigations”.

Following the publication of Ms Kay’s letter, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister has made the position on this clear in her evidence to the committee and looks forward to the findings of the report from the Independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code.”