Saturday, 6 Mar 2021

Alex Salmond’s ‘breathtaking’ accusations a severe blow to Sturgeon’s independence plans

Alex Salmond accusations ‘damaging for SNP’ says political insider

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Mr Salmond is due to appear before a Holyrood inquiry on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment claims which were made against the former SNP First Minister. The probe by MSPs is examining Mr Salmond’s claims he was treated unfairly by the Scottish Government following his acquittal on all charges following a High Court battle last year. Sky News’ Scotland correspondent James Matthews has warned that Nicola Sturgeon will face “breathtaking accusations” from her predecessor that she broke the ministerial code and misled Parliament.

Mr Matthews told Sky News: “It will be box office, it is safe to say it will extremely damaging to for the SNP and the wider independence movement.

“It is breathtaking some of the stuff that Alex Salmond has put in his final submissions and on which he will doubtless expand tomorrow.

“Let me just quote a line from what he said evidence, he said, ‘supports deliberate, prolonged and a malicious concerted effort amongst a range of individuals in the Scottish government and SNP to damage my reputation even to the extent of having me imprisoned.’

“He is basically pointing the figure at an inner circle around Nicola Sturgeon and saying that these people tried to put me in jail.”

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“He names Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, and Chief Executive of the SNP and said that he ‘deployed’, to use the word that he uses, deployed senior staff to round up people to make police complaints against him,” continued the reporter.

“Prior to that criminal trial in which he was acquitted last March.

“We always waited to see what Alex Salmond was going to say to this committee to get a flavour and we have had that on Sky News in recent weeks.

“But I think what he does is crystalise the extent to which he is prepared to bring the house down.”

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According to The Sunday Mail, Mr Salmond will now claim the Scottish Government concealed key documents from his legal team during the judicial review.

He will also state Holyrood even withheld documents from their own lawyers, Christine O’Neil QC and Roddy Dunlop QC.

A source close to the former First Minister said: “Alex will be pulling no punches when he describes the full extent of the Government’s debacle in court.

“They were playing games at the public expense and ran up a bill of more than £600,000 in legal fees.

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“The Government’s behaviour is often described as ‘botched’ In fact, it was much worse – it was judged ‘unlawful’, ‘procedurally unfair’ and ‘tainted by apparent bias’ – and very costly for the public.”

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body announced last week key documents concerning the judicial review will be published.

It is in these documents which Mr Salmond claims his successor broke the ministerial code.

Ms Sturgeon will appear before the committee next week before it takes the remaining evidence and compiles its report.

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