Sturgeon: Salmond has no evidence to back up conspiracy claims

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed there is “not a shred of evidence” that Alex Salmond can show to prove there was a conspiracy against him, as she said she hopes he turns up to a committee to be scrutinised.

The former first minister is alleging his successor has misled Parliament and breached the ministerial code.

A committee is probing the Scottish Government’s botched handling of harassment allegations against him – which saw Mr Salmond win a £512,000 payout following a case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

First Minster
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claims to be looking forward to giving evidence next week (Jeff J Mitchell)

MSPs on the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints have previously decided against publishing a submission the former first minister made to a separate inquiry, which is considering whether Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) concluded “on balance” it would be “possible” for the document to be published.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government made a mistake in the application of its complaints procedure.

“I am as keen as anyone to learn lessons from this and, next week, I will relish the chance to give my evidence to the Committee and answer all the questions that have been asked of me.

“This week, the Committee at last takes oral evidence from Alex Salmond.

“I hope he turns up and, at long last, his claims are scrutinised.

“There have been claims of plots, collusion and conspiracies.

“What we have not seen is a shred of evidence to back these wild claims up.

“Now, in front of the Parliament, the burden of proof is on Alex Salmond.

“It is time for insinuation and assertion to be replaced with actual evidence.

“And if, as I fully expect, there is no evidence, because there was no conspiracy, then people will draw their own conclusions.”

While the former first minister’s submission to the Hamilton Inquiry has not been published as yet by the committee it has been made public online.

The former SNP leader claimed that “Parliament has been repeatedly misled on a number of occasions about the nature of the meeting” he had with Ms Sturgeon at her home on April 2 2018.

Ms Sturgeon has insisted throughout that she did not breach the ministerial code which sets out how government ministers should behave.

Mr Salmond claimed that while Ms Sturgeon had told MSPs that she first learned of allegations against him at that meeting this was “untrue and is a breach of the ministerial code”.