‘Serious questions’ facing Nicola Sturgeon, her party and government – Tories

By Laura Paterson, PA Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Scottish Government face “serious questions” over the “national political scandal” leading to the Alex Salmond trial.

Mr Salmond was acquitted of all charges on Monday following an 11-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He had been accused of a series of sexual assaults, including one with intent to rape and an attempted rape.

Following the verdicts, Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “As we all know, Scotland is dealing with a much more severe challenge today than this high-profile court case.

“That said, there are now some very serious questions facing the SNP, the Scottish Government and Nicola Sturgeon.

“The court case may be over, but for them this is just the beginning.

“Clearly, there is still a lack of information which needs to be fully interrogated, and the Scottish Parliament inquiry will provide that opportunity.

“This remains a national political scandal with profound questions of integrity for the First Minister and her SNP government.

“However, that opportunity must be deferred for the time being while all our efforts and resources concentrate on Covid-19.”

Scottish Labour’s equalities spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: “We wish to acknowledge that this has undoubtedly been a difficult and extremely traumatic time for all involved.

“Services are already under pressure today in Scotland, supporting victims and survivors, and have experienced increased demand as this high-profile trial has hit the headlines.

“The verdict of this trial does not take away from the serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s handling of this.

“We would expect questions about this to be fully explored during parliamentary scrutiny of this.”

Police Scotland thanked those who gave evidence at the High Court.

Detective chief superintendent Lesley Boal said: “We note the verdict reached by the jury at the High Court in Edinburgh today.

“Police Scotland carried out a thorough investigation, reaching out to many people who worked for Alex Salmond during a seven year period and I would like to personally thank them.

“I would particularly like to thank the nine women who gave evidence in court.

“Anyone who comes forward to Police Scotland to report sexual crime, no matter when it happened or who was involved, will be listened to and treated with dignity and respect.”