Salmond inquiry pushes former first minister for written evidence

The convener of a committee looking into the handling of complaints against Alex Salmond has urged the former first minister to submit written evidence within the next week.

A letter was sent to the former first minister on July 7 asking for a submission to be made to the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.

It is investigating the circumstances of a Scottish Government probe into allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr Salmond.

Inquiry into Scottish Governments handling of Harassment
Inquiry into Scottish Governments handling of Harassment

A submission has yet to be made, prompting committee convener Linda Fabiani to write again to Mr Salmond asking for evidence “at your earliest opportunity”.

The convener said she hopes to have received a submission from him by October 27.

Ms Fabiani added a preliminary date in December has been set for the former first minister to appear before the committee.

Mr Salmond has previously been warned by the Crown Office that he faces prosecution if he releases certain restricted materials related to the criminal trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in March in which he was cleared of 13 offences .

The Scottish Government’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against him was deemed “unlawful” in a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, which awarded the former SNP leader more than £500,000.

Ms Fabiani wrote: “Notwithstanding these barriers to a full submission from you, and your desire to make one full submission that fully sets out your position, the committee considers your evidence to be an important perspective in questioning Scottish Government officials and ministers in the final three phases of its inquiry.

“For that reason, I repeat again on behalf of the committee the firm request to be provided with a written submission from you at your earliest opportunity, otherwise your perspective cannot be taken into account in questioning witnesses as the inquiry progresses.

“The inquiry must complete oral evidence taking in sufficient time to enable it to analyse all evidence, produce its findings in a published report and receive a response to its recommendations from the Scottish Government.

“To ensure this can happen before dissolution of Parliament at the end of March 2021, the committee has provisionally scheduled oral evidence taking through the remainder of 2020 including taking evidence from you in December.”

She concluded by writing: “The committee next meets on October 27 and I very much hope that I will be in a position to confirm to the committee at that stage that Parliament officials have received a submission from you.”