Nicola Sturgeon is expected to face a vote of no confidence on Tuesday amid accusations she misled parliament about her involvement in the Alex Salmond investigation, the Scottish Parliament has confirmed.
A debate on the motion of no confidence is now scheduled for Tuesday, rather than Wednesday as had been expected, although it is subject to final approval by the parliament’s business bureau on Tuesday morning.
The motion has been tabled by the Scottish Conservatives after the party’s leader at Holyrood, Ruth Davidson, claimed there was “no question” the First Minister had lied to parliament.
The Tories had threatened the motion of no confidence prior to Ms Sturgeon’s appearance before the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, set up after a successful judicial review by Mr Salmond resulted in the Scottish Government’s investigation being ruled unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias” in 2019.
But following a leak that the inquiry has reportedly concluded that Ms Sturgeon gave an “inaccurate” account of meetings with Mr Salmond, the party repeated their calls for her resignation.
Another inquiry, carried out by the independent adviser to the Government on the ministerial code, James Hamilton QC, was published on Monday and concluded Ms Sturgeon did not breach the ministerial code.
According to Sky News, the leaked report by the Holyrood committee also finds it “hard to believe” Ms Sturgeon’s evidence of when she first heard about concerns relating to the former first minister’s alleged behaviour.
The SNP leader’s spokesman said she stands by her evidence and accused the committee of resorting to “baseless assertion, supposition and smear”.
In her evidence to the committee, Ms Sturgeon said she first became aware of any potential inappropriate conduct by her predecessor after a media inquiry in November 2017 about an alleged incident in 2013 involving female Edinburgh Airport staff.
MSPs on the committee reportedly believe Ms Sturgeon knew of concerns about Mr Salmond’s conduct before this and should have acted.
Further leaks suggest the committee’s report, due to be published on Tuesday, states a majority of members are “concerned” it took Ms Sturgeon two months to tell the head of Scotland’s civil service she knew about the investigation.
Ms Davidson said: “There is no question that Nicola Sturgeon has misled parliament and broken the promises she made to tell the truth.”
Ms Sturgeon has said she stands by all the evidence she gave to the committee and said some members of the committee had made up their minds she was “guilty” before any report was published.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the Mr Hamilton’s report “does not change the overwhelming evidence that Nicola Sturgeon misled Parliament, her government badly let women down and wasted more than £500,000 of taxpayers’ money”.
He added: “If Nicola Sturgeon won’t accept responsibility, then I urge opposition parties to back our vote of no confidence.”
The Scottish Greens have said they will not back the vote, meaning it is not likely to pass.