Salmond to resubmit Sturgeon dossier that will be 'fully compliant' with court ruling

Dan Sanderson
·3-min read
Nicola Sturgeon with Alex Salmond in 2014 - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty 
Nicola Sturgeon with Alex Salmond in 2014 - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Alex Salmond is to submit a new dossier of allegations against Nicola Sturgeon to a Holyrood inquiry on Wednesday, and hopes to be able to discuss his claims publicly next week.

The former First Minister is expected to make a new submission to the parliament committee investigating a unlawful civil service probe into sexual harassment complaints against him, which his lawyers believe will be fully complaint with a revised court order put in place during his trial.

The committee refused to publish a previous dossier from Mr Salmond, into multiple ways in which he believes Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code in her handling of complaints against him, citing legal concerns. This led to him cancelling his appearance in front of MSPs, which was due to take place last week, as he claimed it meant he would not be able to give a full account of his position.

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However, The Spectator magazine persuaded Lady Dorrian to tweak a court order last week.

In her written reasons for making the change, the judge made clear that she did not see it as her role to interfere in what the committee published. However, it is understood that Mr Salmond’s lawyers intend to make the new submission fully compliant with the order, without changing the substance of his claims.

If it is published by the committee, Mr Salmond could appear as a witness on Wednesday next week. Ms Sturgeon would be expected to follow the following week.

The committee is investigating how more than £500,000 in taxpayers’ money came to be paid to Mr Salmond, after he successfully challenged the legality of a Scottish Government probe in court and was awarded legal costs.

He was later cleared of all 13 sex assault charges at his trial in March last year.

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Lady Dorrian’s order is designed to offer anonymity to complainers in the criminal case. She said she had agreed to tweak the wording to avoid a risk of any "misinterpretation" of its scope.

Legal experts told The Daily Telegraph that they did not expect her ruling to result in major changes to what evidence could enter the public domain.

She told a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday last week she would add the words "as such complainers in those proceedings" to the contempt order relating to the criminal trial.

The original order had been worded as to prevent "the publication of the names and identity, and any information likely to disclose the identity, of the complainers in the case" against Mr Salmond.