First Minister’s evidence to Alex Salmond inquiry full of holes, claims Labour MSP

Nicola Sturgeon’s evidence to a Holyrood committee on harassment is full of holes, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader has claimed.

The First Minister’s written evidence to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, which is examining how the Scottish Government dealt with sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond, was published on Wednesday.

Mr Salmond was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault, attempted rape and indecent assault at the High court in Edinburgh in March.

The court case followed a legal battle which saw him awarded more than £500,000 when the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled a Scottish Government investigation into his conduct was “unlawful”.

Jackie Baillie
Jackie Baillie

In her evidence, Ms Sturgeon denied suggestions she had conspired with Mr Salmond, or colluded against him.

But Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie, who sits on the committee, said: “The First Minister’s evidence to this committee raises many questions and could be described as having as many holes as a Swiss cheese.”

In her evidence, Ms Sturgeon said she spoke to Mr Salmond in November 2017 about allegations of sexual misconduct after receiving an inquiry from Sky News.

Ms Baillie said this was “despite senior figures in the SNP” knowing of the alleged incident “as early as 2008”.

She asked: “Was this because she ignored the allegations at the time or is it because the information had been sat on by other senior figures in the SNP, including her husband (SNP chief executive Peter Murrell)?

“Nicola Sturgeon’s evidence to the committee will be considered in due course, but what her evidence has exposed is the blurring of lines between the Scottish Government and the SNP, and the fact that they seem to live in each other’s pockets.”