As it happenedended1614369783

Salmond inquiry news - live: Former leader calls for multiple resignations including Nicola Sturgeon’s husband

Follow all the action from Friday as it happened

Conrad Duncan,Sam Hancock
Friday 26 February 2021 20:03
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Anyone involved in Alex Salmond ‘conspiracy’ should be sacked, MSP says

In a committee hearing which has now concluded, former first minister Alex Salmond called on senior members of the Scottish government and the SNP, including Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, to resign over allegations they conspired against him.

The list of those he said should consider their position included the Scottish government’s permanent secretary, its chief law officer, Peter Murrell, the chief executive of the SNP who is married to the current first minister, and Ms Sturgeon’s minister’s chief of staff.

He stopped short of calling on his successor to stand down, saying it was “not for me” to decide if Ms Sturgeon had breached the ministerial code and should be disciplined as such.

Mr Salmond appeared before the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints as part of the Holyrood inquiry into the unlawful investigation of sexual harassment claims made against him.

He was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault in a criminal trial and awarded a £512,250 payout after successfully challenging the lawfulness of the government investigation.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics today.

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 07:56
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Salmond to appear before inquiry into handling of harassment allegations

Alex Salmond is set to appear before the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish government’s unlawful investigation of sexual harassment claims against him today as political pressure grows on his successor Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland’s former first minister is expected to face questions about his claims that Ms Sturgeon misled parliament and breached the ministerial code over the botched investigation.

She has denied lying to parliament and rejected claims that there was a conspiracy against the former SNP leader.

The inquiry was set up after it was found that the government’s investigation of the allegations was “tainted by apparent bias” due to the investigating officer having prior contact with two of the women who made complaints.

Mr Salmond, who was later acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault in a criminal trial, was awarded a £512,250 payout after he successfully challenged the lawfulness of the government investigation.

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 08:08
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ICYMI: Salmond believes ‘conspiracy’ was aimed at stopping comeback, ally claims

Alex Salmond believes there was a “conspiracy” by Nicola Sturgeon’s circle to stop his political comeback, according to one of his allies.

SNP MSP Alex Neil said Mr Salmond suspected senior party figures feared he would try to win a seat through a by-election and conspired to “stitch him up”.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Salmond believes ‘conspiracy’ aimed to stop his political comeback, says ally

Former first minister thinks senior SNP figures feared he would stand at by-election, says MSP

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 08:24
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Sturgeon: I have no regrets about allowing investigation into Salmond complaints

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that she has no regrets about ensuring complaints against her predecessor Alex Salmond were investigated, despite a bitter row erupting in the Scottish National Party over the issue.

“It was right that the Scottish government put in place a process to allow complaints to be investigated,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“And when I became aware, it was right, in my view, that I did not collude with Alex Salmond to make them go away or sweep them under the carpet.”

Our reporter, Chiara Giordano, has the full story below:

Nicola Sturgeon insists she has no regrets about allowing Salmond investigation

‘It has certainly made Alex Salmond very angry with me, that is self-evident, but that was the right thing to do,’ says first minister

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 08:30
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Justice secretary says inquiry into Salmond claims is ‘distraction’

The UK’s justice secretary has said the inquiry into the handling of sexual harassment claims against former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond is a “distraction”.

“The priorities of the people of Scotland are fighting the virus and trying to live with it, and get back to normal along with the rest of the United Kingdom,” Robert Buckland told Sky News.

“I think they will be at best puzzled and at worst dismayed by this constant intrigue coming against the background of an obsessive mission by the SNP to call another independence or separation referendum.

“I am afraid it is showing a political establishment in Edinburgh that is increasingly out of touch with the reality of day-to-day life.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 08:37
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Former Supreme Court justice Lord Hope has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the prosecution system has been “called into question” by the row between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon:

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 08:54
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Inside Politics: Alex Salmond ready to reveal his ‘conspiracy’ claims

The political drama in Scotland is reaching fever pitch as Alex Salmond prepares to give evidence to the inquiry into harassment allegations against him, according to our reporter Adam Forrest.

Adam has taken a look for Independent Premium at what’s at stake today:

Alex Salmond ready to reveal his ‘conspiracy’ claims – your daily politics briefing

As the former SNP leader finally gives his testimony, current boss Nicola Sturgeon faces new allegations she broke the ministerial code, writes Adam Forrest

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 09:09
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Labour says its support for nuclear weapons is ‘non-negotiable’

Labour’s support for the UK having nuclear weapons is “non-negotiable”, the shadow defence secretary has said, in a reversal of the rhetoric of recent years.

John Healey’s expected speech today will not represent a policy change for Labour but it will mark a change in emphasis from the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn - who personally opposed nuclear weapons for many years.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has the full story below:

Labour says its support for nuclear weapons is ‘non-negotiable’

Membership of Nato is also ‘unshakeable’, shadow defence secretary John Healey to say

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 09:34
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Government agrees to call pregnant ministers ‘mothers’ in new bill

The UK government has agreed to change the wording in its new maternity leave legislation from referring to “pregnant people” to “mothers” - despite gender-neutral language being a government convention.

The House of Lords objected to the use of gender-neutral language in the bill, even though such language has been used in legislation since 2007.

Our reporter, Clea Skopeliti, has the full story below:

Government agrees to call pregnant ministers ‘mothers’

Gender-neutral language is consistent with ‘drafting convention’, government says

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 09:52
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Former adviser denies being aware of Salmond’s behaviour

A former adviser to Alex Salmond has denied that he was aware of the former Scottish first minister’s inappropriate behaviour towards women on his staff.

Stephen Gethins was questioned on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme over what he knew about Mr Salmond’s actions before complaints were brought against him.

“I heard about the evidence in court. I was disappointed by that evidence in court when Alex Salmond admitted to what you’ve just talked about but it was not something that I was aware of,” Mr Gethins told the BBC’s Nick Robinson.

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 10:07

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