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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 GMT
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.


Sturgeon’s husband should be ‘removed’ as SNP chief executive, says Salmond ally

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell should be “removed” as the chief executive of the Scottish National Party, a close ally of Alex Salmond has said.

SNP MP Kenny MacAskill warned that Mr Murrell’s position as a senior figure in the party was inappropriate after serious allegations by Mr Salmond that he was involved in a plot to bring down the former first minister.

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

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband should be ‘removed’ as SNP chief executive, says Salmond ally

Peter Murrell ‘has to go’, says veteran SNP MP ahead of Alex Salmond’s inquiry appearance

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 10:24

Raise taxes on wealthy says left-leaning think-tank, after Starmer rejects increases

Taxes on the wealthy should go up now, a left-leaning think-tank has said, despite Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s refusal to call for increases.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has argued that up to £55bn could be raised to create “a fairer and stronger post-pandemic economy” by increasing taxes on companies, wealth and land.

Our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, has the full story below:

Raise taxes on the wealthy now says left-leaning think-tank, after Keir Starmer rejected increases

‘It is only fair for those who can afford it to contribute their fair share for a sustainable recovery’ says IPPR

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 10:44

What we know about the Salmond inquiry

Scotland’s former first minister Alex Salmond is set to appear before the inquiry into the botched handling of harassment allegations against him this afternoon but what do we know about the investigation so far?

The brief explainer below runs through some of the key points from the inquiry:

  • Why was the committee established?

The Committee was set up to look into the Scottish government’s investigation of allegations against the former first minister and has so far taken evidence from civil servants, trade unions and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.

  • Why has Mr Salmond taken legal action?

The former first minister did not feel his treatment by the Scottish government was fair

It was later found that the lead investigator of the complaints had prior contact with some of the female complainers, with Judge Lord Pentland saying the investigation was “tainted with apparent bias”.

  • What is Mr Salmond expected to say?

It is not clear what exactly the former first minister will say when he appears before the committee, but his appearance is expected to be contentious.

A submission to the committee published this week from Mr Salmond said there had been a “malicious and concerted” effort to remove him from public life and made allegations against SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

  • Will Sturgeon appear before the committee?

The current first minister is expected to appear before the committee next week and has repeatedly said she looks forward to being able to present her side of the story.


Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 11:16

Teachers should be prepared to ‘sacrifice their lives’, ex-Ofsted head suggests

A former head of Ofsted has claimed that teachers need to show a “similar commitment” to medical professionals, who in some cases have “sacrificed their lives” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sir Michael Wilshaw’s comments came shortly before the JCVI advised the government that people should be vaccinated according to age, not profession, in the next phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Our reporter, Joe Middleton, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 11:43

Our economics editor, Ben Chu, has taken a look for Independent Premium below at whether Labour’s surprising opposition to corporation tax rises makes any sense:

Is Labour’s opposition to corporation tax rises indefensible?

Labour’s opposition to the chancellor’s planned corporation tax rises has been attacked by some of its own left wing. But is there an economic logic to it? Ben Chu investigates

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 11:58

Alex Salmond has now arrived at the Scottish parliament for his evidence session (scheduled to start at 12:30), according to the BBC’s Nick Eardley.

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 12:03

DUP ‘meets malignant forces’ in campaign to scrap NI protocol

Back over to Northern Ireland before Alex Salmond gives evidence in the ongoing inquiry into the Scottish government’s unlawful investigation of sexual harassment claims made against him.

The DUP has been accused of legitimising “malignant forces” after the party’s leadership met with an organisation representing loyalist paramilitary groups to discuss opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol.

Arlene Foster, deputy leader Lord Dodds and East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson held talks with the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), a group that represents the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commandos, all of whom the UK Home Office has linked to terrorism.

It came just a day after Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and European Commission vice president Maroš Šefcovic announced in a joint statement that both sides are committed to the “proper implementation” of the protocol.

My colleague, Matt Mathers, reports:

DUP accused of meeting ‘malignant forces’ in campaign to scrap NI protocol

Arlene Foster and senior DUP figures met with a group representing loyalist paramilitaries

Sam Hancock26 February 2021 12:22

Salmond gives opening statement

Former first first minister Alex Salmond is giving his opening statement to the Holyrood Inquiry.

He claims “the government acted illegally yet somehow no one is to blame” and said he will “no longer” stay silent.

Sam Hancock26 February 2021 12:41

‘Government is under investigation, not me,’ Salmond says

Mr Salmond has rejected calls from his successor Nicola Sturgeon that he should provide evidence to back up his claims of a conspiracy.

He stressed it was the Scottish government who had been “found to have acted unlawfully, unfairly and tainted by apparent bias” by the Court of Session.

He said: “I note that the First Minister asserts I have to prove a case, I don’t. That has already been done. There have been two court cases, two judges, one jury.

“In this inquiry it is the Scottish Government, a government which has already admitted to behaving unlawfully, who are under examination.”

Sam Hancock26 February 2021 12:55

Salmond accuses government of ‘deliberate suppression of key evidence'

Scotland’s leadership has failed, Alex Salmond has claimed, as he told MSPs there had been a “calculated and deliberate suppression of key evidence” to a Holyrood committee.

Our Whitehall editor, Kate Devlin, reports:

Scotland’s leadership has ‘failed,’ says former first minister in opening remarks at Salmond inquiry

Scotland’s leadership has failed, Alex Salmond has claimed, as he told MSPs there had been a “calculated and deliberate suppression of key evidence” to a Holyrood committee.

Sam Hancock26 February 2021 13:04

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