Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

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 criticised for using Covid briefing to question Salmond case

My colleague, Adam Forrest, reports the following:

Alex Salmond accused Nicola Sturgeon of using her Covid press conference on Wednesday “to effectively question the result of a jury”. The former first minister said he “watched with astonishment” her remarks on his 2020 trial, having been cleared of sexually assaulting nine women.

Ms Sturgeon stated on Wednesday: “The behaviour they complained of was found by a jury not to constitute criminal conduct, and Alex Salmond is innocent of criminality.

“But that doesn’t mean that the behaviour they claimed of didn’t happen, and I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of that.”

Sam Hancock26 February 2021 13:05

Salmond says treatment by Scottish government has been ‘nightmare’

Alex Salmond has suggested that the Scottish government’s handling of harassment allegations has been a “nightmare” for him.

The former first minister told the inquiry: “I have no incentive or advantage in revisiting the hurt and shock of the last three years from a personal perspective.

“Or, indeed, from the perspective of two complainants, failed by the government.”

He added: “For two years and six months, this has been a nightmare.

“I have every desire to move on, to turn the page, to resist talking yet again about a series of events which have been amongst the most wounding that any person can face.

“But the reason I am here today is because we can't turn that page, nor move on, until the decision-making which is undermining the system of government in Scotland is addressed.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 13:17

Scottish government’s ‘failures of leadership are many and obvious’, Salmond says

Alex Salmond has said that the Scottish government’s “failures of leadership are many and obvious” but no-one has “taken responsibility” for the botched handling of harassment allegations.

“The government acted illegally but somehow nobody is to blame,” Mr Salmond said.

He claimed that the Committee had been asked to do its job “with both hands tied behind its back and a blindfold on”.

“Scotland hasn't failed, its leadership has failed,” he added.

“The importance of this inquiry is for each and everyone of us to help put this right.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 13:23

Scottish Tory leader says Salmond is ‘right’ about honesty in government

Scottish Tory Party leader Douglas Ross has said Alex Salmond is “right” to say that “truth and honesty in government matters” in relation to today’s inquiry hearing.

“I am no fan of Alex Salmond. He is not a man I respect,” Mr Ross said.

“But he is right about at least one thing - truth and honesty in government matters.

“And we’re not getting it from Nicola Sturgeon.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 13:29

Salmond says ‘consequences’ should follow from ‘unlawful conduct’

Former first minister Alex Salmond has told a Scottish parliament committee that “some consequences” should follow on from “unlawful conduct” by the Scottish government.

“I think the leadership of these institutions have serious questions to answer,” Mr Salmond told the inquiry.

“When you get to the stage that a government behaves unlawfully - I mean, this is not something that happens very often.

“I'm on the record politically, when governments have behaved unlawfully, of regarding matters a huge and heinous thing to have happened. It's not a slight matter.

“Some consequences should follow from unlawful conduct.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 13:36

Lib Dem MSP asks Salmond if he is “sorry” for past behaviour

From my colleague Adam Forrest:

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has asked Alex Salmond: “Of the behaviours that you have admitted to, some of which are appalling, are you sorry?”

Mr Salmond replied: “I pointed out the Scottish government’s illegality has had huge consequences for a number of people, and specifically mentioned the complainants in my opening statement … over the last three years there have been two court cases, two judges and a jury and I’m resting on the proceedings of these cases.”

The Lib Dem MSP said “the nation would like to hear” if Mr Salmond was sorry for any of his behaviour.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is then chided by committee convenor Linda Fabiani and is reminded: “Mr Salmond is not here on trial”.

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 13:43

Slapdown for No 10 aide who branded civil servants ‘aloof, arrogant and remote’

Downing Street has come to the defence of the civil service, rejecting comments by a key aide who branded Whitehall mandarins “aloof, arrogant and remote”.

The comments by newly-appointed No 10 deputy chief of staff Simone Finn prompted an angry backlash from public service unions, who said civil servants had been “working their socks off” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has the full story below:

Slapdown for No 10 aide who branded civil servants ‘aloof, arrogant and remote’

Deputy chief of staff Simone Finn said Whitehall must ‘open up to new ideas’

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 14:01

Sturgeon was not ‘covering up’, Salmond says

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has said that he does not believe Nicola Sturgeon was “covering up something” in relation to when she asked about harassment allegations against him.

Mr Salmond was asked if, prior to November 2017, Ms Sturgeon had raised questions or concerns with him about what she would describe as sexually inappropriate behaviour.

“I have got points to make about what I believe the current first minister has done or not done, and they will be made in response to relevant questions, relevant to the committee,” he told the inquiry.

“But I've seen it pursued on the committee that somehow Nicola Sturgeon was covering up something, that is not the case.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 14:10

The BBC’s Nick Eardley has reported that sources in Holyrood have accused SNP members of attempting to “talk out” the committee to prevent discussion on the ministerial code and accusations made by Alex Salmond against Nicola Sturgeon.

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 14:26

From my colleague Adam Forrest:

Acting Scottish Labour leader Jackie Baillie has asked Alex Salmond about his claim that the identity of one of the complainers against Mr Salmond was revealed to Geoff Aberdein – his former chief of staff – by one of Nicola Sturgeon’s aides at a meeting in March 2018.

Ms Baillie asked: “Do you know if the name of one of those complainants was shared at one of those meetings?”

Mr Salmond said: “Yes.” Ms Baillie then asked: “Can I ask you how you know that?”

He replied “Because my former chief of staff told me that” – before adding that he believes there would be three other people “who know that to be true”.

Yesterday, Ms Sturgeon denied the identity of one of the complainers had been revealed. She replied: “To the very best of my knowledge, I do not think that happened.”

Conrad Duncan26 February 2021 14:32

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in